Desmond Anaclitus Rajiv De Silva was born in Matara Sri Lanka in 1944, studied in St Peter’s College Colombo and St Thomas’s College Matara. He was recognized as being the iconic Sri Lankan Entertainer in Sri Lanka and within the expat communities around the world. Desmond combines a powerful voice with a fantastic range that stirs the heart of the young and old.
Desmond was known as a main stream performer who engaged and entertained audience around the world. He started his musical career when he was 19 years old in Sri Lanka and since then he has celebrated over 50 years as an entertainer. His musical career began when he started as the lead vocalist with the popular bands such as Fireflies, Jetliners, Spitfires and then he formed his own band, “Desmond & the Clan” in 1976 which became a sell out at the Capricorn Night Club in Colombo the nights when they performed. His band was contracted by the Katmandu Hotel where he was discovered by an agent who offered them a contract to tour the Scandinavian region for almost 7 years.
Desmond then decided to sing Pop, Country, Jazz, Motown & Rock & Roll to a wide range of audience and was always able to engage the audience and had the ability to motivate their participation. He was also known as the King of Baila and has recorded over 800 bailas and majority of them specifically written for him to sing. He has also performed in other languages such as Cantonese, Hindi and Tamil.
Desmond’s popularity has soared as a solo artist and he had undertaken demanding schedules overseas engagements at sold out events with his band, “Desmond & the Impressions” based in Sydney. During his Solo Career his Versatility as a performer really shined through his ability to imitate artists such as Louis Armstrong, Dean Martin, the Bee Gees, Elvis and even Eddie Jayamana was outstanding.
He was Awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007 by the UK Lanka Times in London. He also represented our Mother Lanka at the 5th Olympiad of Songs in Athens, Greece in 1974 and Yamaha Song Festival in Tokyo, Japan in 1975. These are the reputations of his invaluable contributions to the music world.
Not all entertainers are gifted with the ability of going five decades in the business while still sustaining their enthusiasm and demand at the highest level. But flamboyant and dynamic Desmond De Silva did!