‘Celebrating Wally,’ a commemorative concert celebrating Sri Lanka’s pioneer Baila singer and musician Wally Bastiansz will be held at the Bishop’s Auditorium, Colombo 2, on Saturday November 25 at 7 p.m.
Born on June 10, 1914 at Piyadigama in Gintota, Galle, as Olinton Mervyn Bastiansz, the young Bastiansz loved music as a child and he was able to play mouth organ and button accordion that were at home.
Though born to a Christian family, Wally, closely associated with the Buddhist monks in the nearby Piyadigama Purna Viharaya and Dadalle Walukaramaya temple. He studies his Sinhala from these monks and used to spend time in the temple. Later when he entered St Joseph’s College, Colombo he learnt English and Latin and became one of the best boxers in the college.
In 1932 he joined the Police Department and worked in a number of police stations around the country. While in the police, he continued his passion for boxing and representing Sri Lanka Police he participated in a number local and international boxing championships and won awards.
‘Celebrating Wally,’ a commemorative concert will be held at the Bishop’s Auditorium, Colombo 2, on Saturday November 25 at 7 p.m.
While in the police, Wally also mastered a number of musical instruments including piano, banjo, guitar and violin. It was during this time Wally Bastiansz started to perform in parties and various musical events.
Well known for his ability to sing Baila, Wally was featured in programmes in the Radio Ceylon, he was one of the first to be selected to sing Baila on radio.
By the time Wally Bastiansz died on January 16, 1985, he had penned and composed music for a large number of songs which were famous as Baila. Some of them include ‘Irene Josephine Roselyn Angeline’, ‘Nona Mage Nurse Nona’, ‘Yaman Bando Vesak Balanna’, ‘Hai Hui Babi Achchige Bicycle eka’, ‘Kussi Amma Sera’, ‘Muhude Yamu Masun Maranna’, ‘Ratak Watinawa mage Mawpiyo denna’, ‘Le Kiri Karala’, ‘Mathakai Amme Obey Daru Nalawilla’ and many more.
Tickets for the ‘Celebrating Wally’ show are available at the entrance.