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Sujatha Aththanayaka

Dr Sujatha Aththanyaka was born on 12 May 1942 in Kelaniya. Though she was just famous as Sujatha Aththanayaka, her full name is Kala Shoori Visharadha Dr Mudunkotuwa Munasingha Arachchilage Sujatha Perera. She can be described as the most talented and prominent Sri Lankan songstress and playback singer in Sinhala Cinema. She is also named as the ‘Golden Bell of Sinhala Music’ as she has released more than 120 cassettes in past 70 years.

Sujatha Aththanayaka also the first female music director in Sri Lankan music history. She sang more than 380 Sinhala songs for Sri Lankan Sinhala films and more than 15 Tamil songs for Sri Lankan-Indian films, however, currently she has released more than 6500 Sinhala songs and more than 900 songs in nine different languages. Compare with other singers, the speciality of Sujatha Aththanayaka is the capability of singings songs in 9 different languages.

Sujatha Aththanayaka’s father, Mudunkotuwa Munasinghe Arachchige Dharmadasa Perera worked for Sri Lankan police department as a Police sergeant. Her mother Wimala Kanthi was also involved in the acting and music industry, she was a well-known singer and an actress in those days for Tower Hall stage shows and dramas.

She entered to Wedamulla Maha Vidyalaya, Kelaniya in 1947 and completed her advanced level examination with 4 distinctions passes in 1960. After completing her studies, Sujatha entered to State College of Music where she met her life partner, Navarathna Aththanayaka.

Sujatha and Navarathna had 3 sons. Her second son Chanaka Sanjeewa joined Sri Lanka Army force and died on 25 September 1992 in Pooney during the Tamil Elam war. Since then Sujatha started to wear fully white sarees and quit from singings. However, due to huge demand from her fans, she performs a series of successful concerts, ‘Jeevana Vila Meda in 2012. However, with the death of her second son, she left Sri Lanka for America in 1992. 

Sujatha’s first song was released in 1950 for the program conducted by Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation, the song was ‘ Malase Dileva’. She started her career as a lecturer at the Kaluthara Teacher’s Training College, however, she was then promoted as a music education officer in 1968. Thereafter, she left Sri Lanka for India to complete Master’s degree and Visharada Exams at Lucknow College of Music in India.

When return, she joined with Radio Ceylon as the first female singer. She was the only female who performed classical music programs on Sri Lanka Radio. Sujatha was the first female Sri Lankan singer who sang a Hindi Song for the program of ‘Bal Shaka’.

Sujatha Aththanayaka also the first Sri Lankan female music director as she directed music for the ‘Hariyata Hari’ Sinhala movie in 1975. Since 1965, she achieved several awards due to her brilliant singing skills.  

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