The Gypsies (Sri Lankan band)
The Gypsies are a Sri Lankan baila band that performs Sinhala and English songs. It has been around since the early 1970s and has a huge fan base across the country. The band was later banned temporarily by the Government of Sri Lanka for a while as the songs carried anti-governmental sentiments.
|Associated acts||Rookantha Gunathilake|
|Past members||Sunil Perera (Deceased)|
Ginger (Judith White) Dileepa Mangala (Rathuu)
The band was formed in 1970 by Anton Perera, a confectioner at the Glucorasa company, composed of his five sons (Sunil, Nihal, Piyal, Nimal, Lal) - all of whom had recently completed high school. Former lead singer Sunil Perera was schooled at St. Sebastian's College, Moratuwa and St. Peter's College, Colombo. Anton renovated a portion of his house on Galle Road (in Rathmalana) into a recording studio and began recording their first album. In the thirty years that followed, many changes have occurred in the group's membership that have led to the eight members present today. Piyal Perera is the surviving member from the original line up.
Their early success was due to a series of 5 albums they released in late 1970s (entitled Dance With the Gypsies). In the 1980s the group released their first audio cassette containing their novelty hit "Kurumitto" ("Dwarfs"), which is a translated cover of Dutch musician Father Abraham's "The Smurf Song". With the arrival of CDs in Sri Lanka, they released their first CD Gypsies Gold containing 17 songs and following its success there, with two other CDs, Dance With the Gypsies and Signore, both well received as well. The group has since released other records and continues to enjoy success. Sunil Perera and the Gypsies are world-famous for their baila music. The Gypsies have also successfully collaborated with other Sri Lankan stars like Desmond De Silva. They are also credited with having the first ever baila non-stop medley. They are known for their hit song "I Don't Know Why" as well.
Their first performance out of Sri Lanka, as the resident band at the Delhi Taj for three months, was followed by successful tours in foreign countries where many Sri Lankans now reside, such as the UK, Singapore, U.S., New Zealand, Australia and Canada.
They are a highly paid band in Sri Lanka recently, since they constantly perform at parties, dances and perform at many concerts.
The long-standing female vocalist of the group, Corrine Almeida, and Sharon Nesaduray, better known as "Lulu", have left the group. Radhika Rajavellu is the latest addition to the band after the departure of their well known female vocalist Ginger (Judith White). The current female singer is Monique Wille (Ex-Ultimate).
Buongiorno was released in 2018 which was the first hit song to be released under Gypsies label after a gap of four years.
- Sunil Perera (1952-2021, Sri Lanka): vocals and guitar
- Piyal Perera (b. April 25, 1956, Sri Lanka): vocals and percussion
- Gordon Athula: drums
- Derek Hepponstall (b. March 8, 1956, Sri Lanka): bass guitar and vocals
- Kamal Perera (b., Sri Lanka): guitar (formerly of Mirage) and vocals
- Dushan Jayathilake (b., 1981, Sri Lanka): keyboards and vocals
Other artists also perform with them on their tours and they have a female vocalist.
- The Beginning
- Piti Kotapan None
- Dance With The Gypsies
- This Land Belongs To You
- Oye Ojaye
- Lankawe Ape Lankawe
- Lunu Dehi
- I Don't Know Why
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