Sri Lanka Express

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University Park, PA
Talk on "Ethnic Conflict
Building in SL" by Dr. Gamini Keerawella
Penn State University
April 24, 2:30 - 4:00 pm
Rm 112, Lewis Katz
Building


Edison, New Jersey

Sri Lanka National New Year Celebrations
Organized by Sri Lanka Association of New York
 April 22, 2017
12 noon ~ 4.00 p.m
Pines Manor
2085 Lincoln Highway, Edison, NJ 08817

Washington, DC

Sinhala- Tamil New Year
Organized by Sri Lanka Association of Washington, D.C.
April 22, 2017
10:15 am - 2:00 pm
7901 Meadowbrook Ln
Chevy Chase MD, MD 20815
Phone: 240 205 1246

Dallas Fort Worth

Sri Lankan New Year
Organized by DFW Sri Lankans
April 29, 2017
Starting 12 noon
Bob Eden Park
Euless, Texas
(Please bring a traditional dish)


ගයන ගැයුම්
Presented by Sunethra Sarthchandra
May 6, 2017 at 7:00 PM
Long Beach Community Center
2800 N. Studebaker Road
Long Beach CA 90815


Want to learn Sinhala?


Here's a great website created by Prof. Sisira Ranasinghe:

Note to Community:

We're always interested in hearing about news in our community. Let us know what's going on!
Email: editor@srilankaexpress.org
Sinhala New Year in Sun Valley ...There was a generous spread of  kiribath, kavun, kokis, mung kevun and other sweets at the Maithri Vihara Buddhist Meditation Center in Sun Valley, California where Sri Lankans gathered Sunday, April 16 to start the New Year.

The traditional oil anointing was performed by Abbot Ven. Aparekke Punyasiri.    He ws joined by  Venerable Dhammananda (Roger Jahnke) and Ven. Nanda for chanting of blessings.

Photo above shows some of the participants enjoying rasa kavili. 
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Avurudhu revelry in the park ... Photos above show students of the Thath Jith Dance School trained by founder Prassana Yamasinghe performing several traditional dances at the New Year celebrations held at Woodley Park, Van Nuys, California, April 8, 2017.  The event was organized by the Sri Lanka America Association of Southern California.  (Photos provided by Mr. Yamasinghe)

Los Angeles celebrates Independence Day

Photos below capture some of the colorful traditional dances performed by the students of Thath Jith Dance Academy at the Independence Day celebration organized by the Serendib Foundation, February 4.  

Thath Jith founder and instructor Prasanna Yamasinghe trained, choreographed and designed the eye-catching costumes.

Serendib Foundation has been organizing Independence Day celebrations since 2010 under its signature title  “”මාතෘභූමී වන්දනා – Tribute to our Motherland.”  The foundation is headed by Asela and Medini Ratnayake.

A separate event commemorating Sri Lanka’s 69th year of independence was held by the Consulate General  earlier that day.
Sayuri Senadheera, Aneshka Abeyrathne, Nimangi Weerakoon, Parami De Silva, and Sheron De Silva performing the opening dance. Photo  by Lakpathi Wijesekara 

Seruni Imaya Manage and  Erna Kumarasiri in the "narilatha" (නාරිලතා) dance.  Photo by Lakpathi Wijesekera
Vidushi Gurunada,  Melisha Mahakumara,  Swetha Jayasinghe, and  Sayuri Senadheera --  a moment in "pan neluma" (පන් නෙඵම) a folk dance.   Photo by Denis Thorp.

Bhawya WIjesundara,  Devmi Gunasinghe,  Januthi Dharmasiri,  Rashmi Perera, Anudi Nanayakkara, and Savithra Welihinda performing "jala keliya" (ජල කෙලිය) or "water dance."
Photo by - Wasantha Gunasinghe

Chirantha Dassapa Kiridena in the opening dance.   Photo by Lakpathi Wijesekera

 Channel frustrations into positive energy - leading Buddhist monk tells protesters

The American people have elected Mr. Donald Trump to be our next president and we should give him a chance to prove himself worthy of our trust.  People protesting on the streets will do well to follow the lead of President Obama and Secretary Clinton who graciously accepted the results of the elections. 

There’s fear-mongering in immigrant and minority communities by those seeking to further their political agendas.   I urge our youth not to be incited but to channel their frustrations into positive energy that will unite and heal our communities.  This is the only way in which we can hope to bring about social change. 

As for US-Sri Lanka relations, I hope that  Mr. Trump will review US policy objectively and not be swayed by NGOs and other outside forces whose only objective is breaking up the country and creating disunity.  A peaceful and unified Sri Lanka will be a strong ally to the US in Asia.

I appeal to Mr. Trump to be insightful and thoughtful in the crucial decisions he’s about to make as President of the United States. 
May the blessings of the Triple Gem be with him.

Bhante Walpola Piyananda Thera
Chief Sangha Nayake of America
Los Angeles, California
Bhante Walpola Piyananda Thera

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Los Angeles pays tribute to Pandith Amaradeva

SLE News (Nov. 6, 2016) - Sri Lankans in Los Angeles participated in a pansakula pinkama at the Sarathchandra Buddhist Meditation Center, North Hollywood, November 5, in memory of the late Dr. Pandith W.D. Amaradeva, followed by tributes to the legendary musician and sharing of personal anecdotes.
Legendary Sri Lankan singer and composer Pandit Amaradeva, receipient of many international honours including India's Padma Sri award, for his contribution to music, died today of a heart attack in Colombo, November 3.

88-year-old Amaradeva, born W D Albert Perera, was rushed to Sri Jayewardenepura Hospital here after suddenly falling ill. He died shortly after that.

The musician has been the recipient of several awards including the Philippine Ramon Magsaysay Award (2001), Padma Sri Award (2002) and Sri Lankan President's Award of Kala Keerthi (1986) and Deshamanya Award (1998).
Ven. Ambalantota Kolitha Nayake Thero who conducted the religious ceremony said maestro Amaradeva was not only a brilliant musician who warmed the hearts of millions he was also a unifying figure.  “People all across Sri Lanka, regardless of race, religion, and politics, are mourning the loss of this great singer.  He was truly a national treasure. We were very fortunate that a man of such talent and greatness lived among us,” he said.
Pandith Amaradeva has a special place in the Los Angeles community, having visited and performed here on four separate occasions.  Mr. Ananda Markalanda who hosted the musician and his wife for a month during their first visit in 1990 said he had become aware of the maestro’s penchant for swimming at that time.  “Once he got into the pool, it was hard to get him out,” he mused. 


Markalanda touched briefly on several songs such as Sanna Lihine which despite their profound and serious lyrics became popular among a cross section of Sri Lankans.   He credited this popularity to a rare combination of poetic genius by greats such as Mahagama Sekera, Madawala S.Ratnayake, and Chandraratne Manawasinghe, talented musicians, and the inimitable voice of the maestro.   


Calling on participants to share their personal memories, Markalanda wondered who had known the late singer the longest.  It turned out to be Ven.  Dr. Punnaji Maha Thera who was visiting from Canada.  “I think I first met him in 1944, when he was still in his teens,” he said.  (Continued below)
  Ven. Ambalantota Kolitha Thero
  Ananda Markalanda
  Ravi Amarawansa: "I grew up listening to Amaradeva's music"

Maestro Amaradeva brought L.A. music lovers together

  - Dr. Tissa Munasinghe 
Maestro W.D. Amaradeva sang at our house during one of his visits to Los Angeles and I heard how beautiful the male voice can be.  I also realized how humble he was, despite being a world-famous artist. His being here in LA brought  the community’s light classical music lovers together.  How much we enjoy what other musicians have contributed!  As payback, we must contribute to the world of Sri Lankan music by supporting the artists (the vocalists, and instrumentalists), and we must encourage the creation of original music.  I believe, we must pass our love of Sri Lankan music to our younger generation living away from our motherland.
  Gamini Balasuriya
Gamini Balasuriya, a former musician at Radio Ceylon, said he was a member of the orchestra responsible for providing music for the recording of several of  Amaradeva’s songs and had regular contact with him.  He recalled being present when the renowned lyricist Dalton Alwis wrote his all-time classic Sasara Vasana Thuru sitting at a small restaurant on Race Course.  Touched by sudden inspiration, Alwis hastily wrote his thoughts on the back of a napkin and completed the song the same day.   

That Amaradeva’s music has touched several generations is not just a cliché, as evidenced by the presence of a few second-generation Sri Lankans at Saturday’s event, among them -- Ravi Amarawansa .  
Ravi, in his twenties and a sitarist who has performed at several Sri Lankan  events, says Amaradeva awakened his love for Sinhala music. 

“I basically grew up listening to Amaradeva's music,” he says recalling that his father (Mr. Ananda Amarawansa) often played his CDs at home on the weekend mornings.  “My late mother, who was Jewish-American, also enjoyed his loving and joyous music. I've always felt that Amaradeva's music served as a major link and nostalgia to my Sinhalese-Sri Lankan heritage,” said Ravi
  Some of the L.A. residents who atttended the pinkama for late Pandith Amaradeva.