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Iconic Singer/Entertainer Desmond De Silva embraces technology to keep his fans spirits up through the pandemic..

With a home studio created, Desmond has continued to entertain his fans through a series of virtual concerts. Created and coordinated by Different Marketing Agency to lift spirits up through the pandemic Desmond has reached many fans, engaging with them in his own inimitable style.

2020 was set to be a packed year for Desmond with engagements here and overseas scheduled in his calendar up to December. Phyllis & Des returned to Sydney after two successive gigs in the UK which had them away and returning just in time to beat travel restrictions.

As the pandemic spread across Europe, the first casualty gigs were the two scheduled in April in Milan & Paris over the Easter season. Flights and venues were cancelled and Des & Phyllis settled into enjoying life at home after years of constant travel.

Des jokes that he now had so much time on his hands that he had resorted to cutting the grass with a pair of scissors!

However, a constant stream of calls from fans around the world desperate for entertainment saw Different Marketing put a program of virtual concerts together which had Desmond in a Studio created at home, putting in the practice and embracing a new way of communicating and entertaining his fans.

‘These concerts are ongoing until this challenging year is out’ says Desmond with planned Christmas specials next month.

‘I am also engaged in laying tracks down for 2 new CDs and am working on a concept created by Different Marketing for an unique concert in Sri Lanka when travel permits. So the enforced travel has provided me with interesting projects that keep me occupied and in touch with my music and my fans’.

The past six years since celebrating his 50 years in music has been increasingly busy. There have been some standout highlights. The Spitfires reunited in 2015 in a “Time is Tight’ tour of Australia. It was an emotional time for the members of the band, Budrin, Hassan, Dalrene, Maxine, Sohan, Felix and Mohan and of course Desmond, got together to practice for a week before the tour. Desmond recalls the 3 weeks fondly as most of the band members were accommodated in his home. Band practice was serious sessions but then fun evenings over drinks and dinners reminiscing on the band’s hey days at Ceylinco were topped with singing and much laughter.

Another highlight was the “Together Again 2018 tour of Australia by Desmond & The Clan. Here again the band members were accommodated with Desmond & Phyllis and music, reminiscing and laughter were the order of the day. Breakfast time had everyone round the table joyously eating a variety of breakfast favourites. Desmond’s speciality was ensuring perfectly cut fresh fruit and a killer Pol Sambol which went well together with the fresh buttered bread rolls bought each day from the Bakery round the corner by Kitta who delighted in a morning stroll to the bakery.

Desmond also recalls the 2 years consecutive Dinner Dances in Nottingham UK hosted by the Dayada Sri Lanka Kidney Foundation. They were both fund raising events that exceeded expectations in guest attendance and the funds that were raised.

An unique event hosted by Suminda Ranatunge for the Sri Lankan community in Dublin, Ireland was another unexpected highlight as many guests had more than a 3 hour drive to attend the event. ‘It was very rewarding to perform to an audience that had made the effort to travel so far and who came to have a good time’ says Desmond. They were not disappointed as Des had them on the dance floor from the moment he got on stage.

Desmond celebrated a significant birthday in 2019 with a concert at the BMICH in Colombo produced by Damayantha Kuruppu. Desmond was keen to use the occasion to lift the spirits of Sri Lankan’s after the Easter Sunday Massacre. This event was special to Desmond as he had the chance to once again perform with Ishan Bahar – the person who inspired him to become a singer.

With the enforced travel restrictions in place there has also been time for quiet reflection. ‘I have had the time to think of the huge body of work I have been fortunate to own. I have had amazingly talented lyric writers who have collaborated with musicians who gave me material to work with and I have been fortunate to amass over 850 Sinhala pop and baila songs. ‘The great Wally Bastian gave me permission to sing his songs…. I felt very humbled’ says Desmond.

‘Arthur Spelderwinde and Derek Cramer were very popular in the late 50’s and 60’s. Derek was so funny and Arthur and Derek were amazingly talented and had the gift of engaging with the audience entertaining them not only in song but also with humour and repartee. They inspired me’.

The Jetliners were popular and the Coconut Grove was the place to be for the popular Sundown Dances. ‘I would watch Ishan Bahar on stage and saw how he had the audience dancing and enjoying his music. I was inspired and thought if he can do it so can I’ says Des.

‘There has been sadness during this time’ says Desmond ‘I said Goodbye to my 95 years old mother who passed away peacefully in Perth’. Due to travel restrictions he and his brother Milroy could not attend her funeral. Desmond is pleased that his mother ‘s 95th birthday celebrations in January 2020 was celebrated over 4 days and it gave the whole family quality time together to celebrate with their mother.

The shock of also having to farewell very close friend and colleague Sandra Jackson with whom he enjoyed singing duets as he says ‘our voices blended so well’. Another heartbreaking shock was the passing away of Hassan Musafer as Desmond says he considered Hassan his little brother. There are fond memories of sharing a room with him during their stint in Bombay as members of the Jetliners. ‘I class Hassan’s drumming as the next best thing to a Metronome’ says Des. We also lost the wonderfully funny and entertaining Ronnie Leitch & the very talented Randy Pieris.

All events scheduled for 2020 have been put on hold due to the restrictions in place and Desmond says that he has regular conversations with Event Organisers around the world and the word is that the party loving Sri Lankans are anxiously awaiting restrictions to be lifted and dinner dances and concerts to be held once again.

Different Marketing Agency has just launched the OFFICIAL Desmond De Silva YouTube channel and Desmond will ensure he uploads new material for the enjoyment of fans.

The world will never forget Christmas 2020. Preparation to celebrate Christmas was undertaken as spirits were dampened as families gatherings were uncertain around the globe. ‘Reaching out to Sri Lankan’s across the globe was something I wanted to do during this difficult Christmas time’ says Desmond. A series of home videos were produced with Desmond singing Christmas favourites to bring the spirit of Christmas back into hearts and homes. The many comments and phone calls received were confirmation that they were timely and well received.

NYE 2020 was extraordinary too as it was the only year Desmond had not been on a stage somewhere bringing in the New Year. This year, a special dinner shared with wife Phyllis, as they watched the Sydney fireworks display was how they welcomed 2021.

I believe we have all grown stronger in all areas of our lives and there is a hopeful promise of a great things ahead.

‘Life has certainly changed…… nothing can be taken for granted. But change brings about innovation and creativity and the entertainment industry will reinvent and thrive once again …. it’s just a matter of time’.

‘Music is the food of Life’!

Raja Edirisuriya appointed new Executive Project Management Director for Port City

Raja Edirisuriya has assumed duties as the Executive Project Management Director for Colombo Port City Development Project.

This appointment was made as per a cabinet decision on a paper submitted by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Minister of Urban Development & Housing. Prior to this appointment, Edirisuriya was serving as the Chairman of the Urban Settlement Development Authority (USDA).

A celebrated civil engineer by profession, Edirisuriya obtained his Bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, specialising in structural engineering from Rutgers University New Jersey, USA. He also went on to acquire his Masters in public administration at University of La Verne, California. As a professionally registered civil engineer in California, he has held the prestigious position of Administrator and City Engineer for almost 16 years with the city of Chino, California.

In early 2006, Edirisuriya was appointed as the chairman of the then ailing construction giant, Sri Lanka State Engineering Corporation (SEC). With his sheer dedication and commitment, along with the supporting staff, this organisation was resurrected within a short period of 9 months. Under Edirisuriya’s chairmanship, the corporation turned a profit of Rs. 103 million at the end of the 2006 financial year. This was the first time that SEC turned a profit since 1981.

In December 2009, on a request made by the then President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Edirisuriya accepted the Chairmanship of Mihin Lanka Airlines in order to resume the company’s operations after it had been grounded for some time.

Edirisuriya has also served as the Sri Lankan Ambassador to Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Surinam, further affirming his stature as a global citizen. During his tenure from 2013 to 2015, he promoted trade and tourism between Latin America and Sri Lanka and also helped facilitate United Nations Humans Rights resolutions among Brazil, Chile and Argentina to support the Sri Lankan government. Additionally, Edirisuriya was instrumental in acquiring a property on behalf of the Sri Lankan Government in Brasilia, Brazil to house the Sri Lankan Embassy.

A philanthropist by nature, he gathered support and funds from the Sri Lankan community in Los Angeles to help construct 39 homes for Tsunami victims in Induruwa. When Edirisuriya was the Vice-President of Ranaviru Foundation USA in 2008, he helped raise Rs. 12 million for disabled Sri Lankan soldiers during the peak of the war. The money was used to build houses for veteran soldiers and their families in Anuradhapura.

Throughout his professional career, Edirisuriya has always been a devoted public servant for his motherland Sri Lanka. This is especially apparent when analysing his professional roles; they have all resulted in the prosperity of Sri Lanka and its people. In his new role as the Executive Project Management Director for Colombo Port City Development Project, it is expected that Edirisuriya will deliver results with the benefit of the nation in mind.

The Colombo Port City Development Project is recently being gazetted as a National Prioritised Project, directly supervised by the Presidential Secretariat with other relevant Ministries. Having completed the initial development stage of reclamation and breakwater construction, Port City is currently at the infrastructure development stage 1, which covers the internal roads and utility connections construction

The Special Economic Zone (SEZ) act, which is the much anticipated regulatory framework for Port City, is expected to be enacted by the Parliament before the end of this year.

HEAR FROM DR JAY!

Dr. Walter J is a father, brother, doctor, entrepreneur, patriot, artist, humanitarian and at his very core, a friend to all. With a lifetime of accomplishments and involvement across many fields and sciences, came the need to establish an online presence across social media to recognize all he has done, and continues to do. And so friends began work on a presence project, to create and manage internet resources and social media platforms for any and all to learn more about, and keep up with, Dr. Walter Jayasinghe.

We invite you to explore the new Dr. Walter Jayasinghe website, Facebook page, YouTube page and Instagram page. Find one on one interviews with Dr. J on YouTube with stories from his early days as a physician, to stories of family and longtime friends. Follow the Dr. Walter Jayasinghe Facebook page for old photos and new updates, and to leave a message for Dr. J. Enjoy the brand new Dr. Walter Jayasinghe website for a brief biography on how he became the man he is today. Dr. J loves to hear from his friends and stay in touch with them, and looks forward to connecting with you on the following platforms now!





Sri Lankan American New Chief Of Staff Rohini Kosoglu appointed for Kamala Harris!

Sen. Kamala Harris is making a key staffing change ahead of a holiday season in which she’ll be mulling a decision on a presidential run. On Monday, Harris announced Rohini Kosoglu as her new chief of staff. Kosoglu, who is Sri Lankan-American, enters the position as the only Asian-American woman currently serving as a U.S. senator’s chief of staff — and she tells Bustle that she’s optimistic about Congress becoming more diverse in 2019.

Kosoglu’s promotion from deputy chief of staff reflects a diversity among Harris’ staffers that isn’t matched by all her Democratic colleagues. And the numbers bear that out. According to a 2017 report released by Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, most senators from the party employ women staffers, but an overwhelming number of staffers are white. At the time that report was released, Harris’ office employed the second-highest number of people of color, behind only Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz’s office. The newly minted chief of staff tells Bustle that it’s important for lawmakers and senior congressional staff to reflect the demographics of the country.

“I think it’s important that when we advance diversity [in Congress], we also advance the ability to address many issues in front of us,” Kosoglu says. “Our staff reflects California — the makeup of California, as well as the country.”

Beverly High Alumnus Runs for Los Angeles Community College District

Chatura De Silva, a Beverly High Class of 2008 graduate, is running for the Los Angeles Community College District.

De Silva said that if he is elected, he wants to focus on several issues including outreach to the youth and helping promote the completion of college.

“There’s a stigma that people have towards community college and its not as exciting as when [students] think of university. I want to try to see how I could really Chatura De Silva make that atmosphere more appealing to the youth and make them see it as an option,” De Silva said. “If you have the proper resources, you could really follow your dream.”

De Silva said his mother was killed by a drunk driver in 2010. He had been determined to finish his undergraduate degree at CSUN at the time, but was placed on academic probation. He took classes at Pierce College to get back on track, he said.

“[Community college] gave me the opportunity to get myself back up, so I owe a lot of my success to [it],” he said. His vision for the LACCD includes estabulating events where there is more interaction between teachers and students and make classes without stressing.”He is a project manager for the Sri Lankan Youth Organization, a non profit group dedicated to supporting Sri Lankan youth. He is also the founder and CEO of Project Pursuit of Happiness, a non profit charitable organization.

De Silva is running for Seat 3 on the LACCD, which is currently occupied by David Vela. The election will take place on November 3.

for more information:Go to: http://www.bhweekly.com

SL born lawyer Vanushi elected New Zealand MP

Sri Lankan born Vanushi Walters of New Zealand’s Labour Party has won the race to be Upper Harbour MP in northwest Auckland, taking over from retiring National MP Paula Bennett, Stuff. CO. NZ reported today.

She claimed a narrow victory over National candidate Jake Bezzant, a former tech company chief executive and cricketer for Hamilton, receiving 14,142 votes to Bezzant’s 12,727.

During the campaign, Walters, a board member of Amnesty International, said she was passionate about the electorate because of its “diverse” and “warm” communities. Upper Harbour covers the north-western reaches of Waitematā Harbour. It stretches from Massey in the west, through Hobsonville, and across to Greenhithe and on to Glenfield and Unsworth Heights on the North Shore.

Karen Chhour was the ACT nominee, and said she wanted to empower mental health patients by setting up a mental health and addiction agency. Ryan Nicholls was the Green Party nominee and Catherine Giorza ran for the NZ Outdoors Party.

Bernadette Soares was the New Conservative Party candidate and Winson Tan ran on the TEA Party ticket.

for more information go to:http://www.dailymirror.lk

Sri Lankan Pioneers

Sri Lanka Foundation wants to celebrate families!

We have very exciting news, introducing a new way to connect with Sri Lankans across America and we need your help to launch this project.

All of the information we receive will be compiled into a directory to be used to locate an individual, a family, or even your ancestors across the U.S.

To get started, we would appreciate it if you could take the time to fill this form out with your families. Scroll down to get started:


In Remembrance of Udayanga Silva

All of us at the Sri Lanka foundation and the Academy of Performing arts is deeply saddened by the loss of Udayanga Silva.

We wish the family Peace, Comfort, Courage and lot’s of Love during this time of sorrow!

If you wish to help the family to get through this difficult time please click on the link below to donate:

https://www.gofundme.com/f/raising-funds-for-the-family-of-udayanga-silva?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=sms&utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet

Aruni Boteju, Business Banker with undying Dreams

“Many told me I am crazy to drive 200 miles to work, and to attend events and volunteer my time and do the things I do, they asked me how do I do it? I said, I just do it just like Nike, JUST DO IT”.

Sri Lankan-American, Aruni Boteju is Assistant Vice President, Small Business Banking Officer at Bank of the West/ BNP Paribas in Southern California. She is a mother of two children and resides in Santa Barbara, California. Aruni’s parents Ariyadasa and Manel Horanage moved to the United States of America in 1996 with their three daughters. Aruni is the oldest of three daughters.

Aruni had her early education at Buddhist Ladies International College, in Colombo 07. She continued her studies at Santa Barbara City College. She earned her Bachelor’s Science in Business at the University of Phoenix and working towards her Master’s in Business. Aruni started her banking career with Bank of America in 1999 as a part time teller. She stated, “In those days it was hard to get into banking, I had to do an exam to be hired, and I failed the first time”. I had to reconsider the credit and debits I learned in school to banking credits and debits”. She moved from Bank of America to Wells Fargo Bank, Santa Barbara Bank and Trust, Heritage Bank to Bank of the West. “I was very blessed to work with many people, who supported me in my career. I learned from my mentors and from my client. I believe life is too short for us to learn from our mistakes. We must listen and learn from others as well. I was always willing to take that chance or the risk to make myself better person and improve myself.

Many believe she’s an extravert, but she is combination of both introvert and extrovert. “There are times you want to be alone, step back and do things on your own and observe others. Also, I believe in team work as well. You can go fast when you are alone, but you can go far when you have a team to support” she said. Aruni was part of schools’ Net-Ball team, and won many tournaments and she was part of the Gymnastic team which bought pride to the school. Articles were written in papers as “Girls with Sheer GUTS” for their braveness to jump off from fire hoops during sports exhibitions and meets.

Aruni is very passionate about dancing and drama as well. She learned traditional Kandyan dancing from school dancing teacher Mrs. Thilaka Wejayesinghe , Bharthnatyam from Guru Padmini Dhanayaka, and learned Kathak at Sausiri Paya in Colombo early 90’s. Aruni was granted with an opportunity to go to Shanthi Nikethan in India to further study Kathak. She has an opportunity to be part of famous legendary Kala Suri Somalatha Subasinghe’s team for stage dramas and had the opportunity to work with many well-known artists in Sri Lanka.

“I had a very blessed life in Sri Lanka” said Aruni. At the age of Fourteen, she was invited to do TV commercials and many were main roles. “I remember my first, TV advertisement was a Pepsi ad with the gypsies.

Aruni continued to be involved with the Sri Lankan community in Southern California since the family moved to California. “Our mother was determined to keep us involved with the community and continue to be part of the cultural events. She taught dancing to her youngest sister Ruwani Horanage and remained as a silent choreographer to the community for a long time. She is one of the first choreographers to Ranwan Rayak in 2006. Aruni was the main choreographer for a tribute to Maestro Pandith Amaradeva concert in 2013. In 2014, she organized USA tour and directed and produced a musical evening “Aaradhana”, with Maestro T.M Jayarathne and Maestro Pradeepa Dharmadasa. Aruni is an Executive Producer for “Lost Flyers” movie Directed by Sudesh Managodage, which is in post-production now.

That is a summary of what’s her contribution to our culture and community. However, she did not stop there, she continued to work with her local community in Santa Barbara as well. Her involvement as a member of High Tea Committee for Domestic Violence in Santa Barbara was the first step towards local community involvement in 2013. Her strong belief of women empowerment and strengthening women led her to be a part of the Board for Spirit of Women Entrepreneurs organization and Women Economic Ventures in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties. She is a member of the Greater Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Santa Barbara as well.

She believes is in diversity and helping and strengthening people, especially women. She is a part of a nonprofit organization that helps young girls and women in Kenya. Friends of WONI helps young women to have English education and provides hostels, so young girls do not have to walks 10 miles to schools. Also, organization helps with clean water to drink program as well.

Aruni’s involvement and volunteer work were appreciated and recognized by her management at Bank of the West and awarded her with Best Community involvement awards for two years in a row.

“I am proud to be a part of the Bank of the West and our parent company is BNP Paribas. As a bank for the changing world, the Bank is committed to sustainable financing. The Bank is taking action to support activities that help protect the planet, improve people’s lives, and strengthen communities. We are redefining banking for a better future by focusing on areas where we believe we can have an impact. Supporting energy transition, helping enable women entrepreneurs, and financing innovative startups: she stated.

Bank promotes diversity and inclusion as a vital part of the success and future of the Bank. I had the opportunity to held a position as Co-Chair for Banks Asian Pacific Resources Group in Southern California for two years.

Aruni’s main focus is small business owners as a business banking officer. The COVID-19 handicapped the world economy. The fear of higher inflation has captured the imagination of consumers, business owners and investors. Small businesses can survive a surprisingly a very long time without making any profits. But it will fail on the day it can’t meet a critical payment. Today many of these businesses in trouble due to the COVID-19. Some are forced to close the businesses. A common explanation was a lack of cash flow. Liquidity is the lifeblood of any business making cash flow more important than profit or the return on investment.

In conclusion, Aruni stated “I have faced many obstacles in my journey, there are times I was paralyzed with my own thoughts, doubts and problems. I believe in God, we are here for a reason, a purpose. We don’t live once, we live every day and die once. During that time how we want to live is a choice we have, it is our right. You do not have to make only lemonade from the lemon, there are many things you can do with that lemon. Use your imagination and create the world you want to live in. I was a dreamer, still I am and will be till the day I die”.

For more information contact:

Aruni Boteju
Southern California Small Business Banking
15165 Ventura Blvd,
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
Cell: (818) 309 -7480 Fax: (402) 445-7156
Email- Aruni.Boteju@bankofthewest.com

The City of Los Angeles Celebrates the 1st Annual Sri Lanka Day

On December 4th, 2019 history was created within the walls of the magnificent Los Angeles City council chambers on a rainy morning amidst a gathering of distinguished leaders, where a community came together to celebrate Dr. Walter Jayasinghe and his invaluable philanthropic services rendered to this beautiful city of Los Angeles and the Sri Lankan community declare Sri Lanka Day to be celebrated every year on August 17th.

Today, August 17th, 2020 around 1.30pm, the Sri Lanka Foundation, the Jayasinghe Family and the City of Los Angeles celebrated the first annual Sri Lanka Day, in honor of Sri Lankan culture and the remarkable contributions of Sri Lankan Americans in the City and beyond.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s celebration was held outdoors and was marked by a flag raising ceremony and cultural exposition near Los Angeles City Hall.