name - Hettiarachchige Reginald
Jothipala - Also known as Jothi
Born - February 12, 1936(1936-02-12)
Died - July 7, 1987 (aged 51)
Years active - 1956 – 1987
(February 12, 1936 – July 7, 1987) was a prolific
playback singer in the Sinhala cinema. Jothipala rendered
his voice to all classes of actors ranging from Eddie
Jayamanne, Ananda Jayaratne, Gamini Fonseka, Vijaya Kumaratunga,
Sanath Gunathilaka, Ravindra Randeniya and several others
of young generation stars like Damith Fonseka, Lal Weerasinghe
and other newcomers.
was born the first child of a middle-class family from
Southern Sri Lanka. He attended St. Lawrence College in
Maradana and St. John’s College in Dematagoda. Jothipala
would visit tea kiosks during this period to hear music
as his family didn't own a radio.
made his debut as a playback singer on Cyril P. Abeyratne's
Surathalee singing, "Siriyame Sara," in 1956.
Prior to this he had recorded a song for the late Sirisena
Wimalaweera's Podi Putha. This song didn't make the final
cut, as the Indian film composer on the film didn't consider
Jothipala's voice good enough.
has said that he contemplated taking his life when he
went with his friends to watch Podi Putha and found out
that his song was not included. Later when Surathalee
producer Jabir A. Cader wanted to hear one of his songs
to consider him for the film, Jothipala almost passed
on the offer as he did not possess enough money to cut
a record. He was helped out by veteran musician Stanley
Omar who financed him for the sum of 35 rupees –
a large amount at the time. Jothipala's song on the film,
"Siriyame Sara," still remains popular in Sri
Lanka. He sang the popular number under the direction
of T.R. Papa at Wahini Studio in India.
has worked with many reputed directors of Sri Lanka. In
the early stages of his prolific career, Jothipala got
the chance to work with prolific film maker, Lester James
Peries on the movie Sandeshaya. Jothipala sang the song
"Puruthugeesikara" for the film, which was composed
by the legendary Sunil Santha and written by veteran lyricist
was the undisputed choice in films that were made in the
late sixties and through the seventies, the period during
which he also began to act. Though Jothi was criticized
for singing to the tunes of popular Hindi songs he also
sang under the batons of Pandit W.D. Amaradewa, P.V. Nandasiri,
Premasiri Kehmadasa, Sarath Dassanayake and Milton Mallawarachchi.
sang in hundreds of films including popular hits like
Kasthuri Suwanda, Thushara, Sweeep Ticket, Hitha Honda
Minihek, Kawuda Raja, Hondata Hondai, Wasana, Sangeetha
and others. The award-winning singer also played some
memorable roles in films including Ethulweema Thahanam,
Sulalitha Sobani, Sujeewa, Sukiri Kella, Abirahasa, Bonikka,
Shanthi and his own production Sumithuro.
the music scene, no musical show was complete without
Jothi in the seventies and eighties. Jothipala died in
the first week of July in 1987.