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H. R. Jothipala

Hettiarachchige Reginald Jothipala (February 12, 1936 – July 7, 1987) was a prolific playback singer in the Sinhala cinema.He worked as an opera singer. He died in July 1987 at the age of 51 years and 5 months old.

Jothipala rendered his voice to all classes of actors ranging from Eddie Jayamanne, Ananda Jayaratne, Gamini Fonseka, Vijaya Kumaratunga, Sanath Gunathilaka, Tony Ranasinghe, Ravindra Randeniya and even several of the young generation of actors in Sri Lanka. He is considered as the father of Sri Lankan popular song industry and also the all time greatest artist ever born in Sri Lankan Music industry and playback singing.

Early life

Jothipala was born the first child of a middle-class family from Southern,Matara Sri Lanka. He attended St. Lawrence College in Maradana and St. John’s College in Dematagoda. Jothipala would visit tea kiosks during this period to hear music as his family didn't own a radio. His wife is Mrs. Vintor Blosem, and they have 2 daughters.

The first two letters of his name "H.R", was renowned by Sri Lankan people as "Hadawatha Raththaran Jothipala", meaning that "Kind hearted Jothipala", due to his kindness to every people in any age, caste or family.

Also it is known that, Jothipala did not refused to give all of his money from his stage singings to a begger or poor people met in road while making way to home after stage singing. He did not able to get much awards during his lifetime, but he did not make any commence about it ; but when he gets an award, he was really apperciated it very much. Jothipala is known as the Singer of Normal People, who born among them, and rendered all his lifetime for poor people's welfare.

Jothipala was refused many times by Media, because of his loud voice and songs for Hindi tune. Jothipala made his debut as a playback singer on Cyril P. Abeyratne's Surathalee singing, "Siriyame Sara," in 1956. Prior to this he had recorded a song for the late Sirisena Wimalaweera's Podi Putha. This song didn't make the final cut, as the Indian film composer on the film didn't consider Jothipala's voice good enough.

Jothi has said that he contemplated taking his life when he went with his friends to watch Podi Putha and found out that his song was not included. Later when Surathalee producer Jabir A. Cader wanted to hear one of his songs to consider him for the film, Jothipala almost passed on the offer as he did not possess enough money to create a record.

He was helped out by veteran musician Stanley Omar who financed him for the sum of 35 rupees – a large amount of money at the time. Jothipala's song on the film, "Siriyame Sara," still remains popular in Sri Lanka, having recorded the popular number under the direction of T.R. Papa at Wahini Studio in India.

Jothipala has worked with many reputed directors of Sri Lanka. In the early stages of his prolific career, Jothipala got the chance to work with prolific film maker, Lester James Peries on the movie Sandeshaya. Jothipala sang the song "Puruthugeesikara" for the film, which was composed by the legendary Sunil Santha and written by veteran lyricist Arisen Ahubudu.


Jothipala was the undisputed choice in films that were made in the late sixties and through the seventies, the period during which he also began to act. Though Jothi was criticized for singing to the tunes of popular Hindi songs he also sang under the batons of Pandit W. D. Amaradeva, P.V. Nandasiri, Premasiri Khemadasa, Sarath Dassanayake and Milton Mallawarachchi.

He sang in hundreds of films including popular hits like Kasthuri Suwanda, Thushara, Sweeep Ticket, Hitha Honda Minihek, Kawuda Raja, Hondata Hondai, Wasana, Sangeetha and others. The award-winning singer also played some memorable roles in films including Ethulweema Thahanam, Sulalitha Sobani, Sujeewa, Sukiri Kella, Abirahasa, Bonikka, Shanthi and his own production Sumithuro'and "Obai Mamai".

In the music scene, no musical show was complete without Jothi in the seventies and eighties. Jothipala died in the first week of July in 1987. Until death, he sang more than 3000 sinhala songs and all of them were popularized equally and many more playbakc songs did not came into arena, due to production failures of films.


Two days before his death, on 5 July 1987, he participated for "Gam Udaawa", patrionic project by late President Ranasinghe Premadasa, and sang on his final open stage. But while singing he was gets hurt, but finished the singing successfully. Next day he was admitted to the hospital. Jothipala died on July 7, 1987 at Ratnums Private Hospital. The cause of his death was said to be kidney failure due to alcohol usage. "He came to our hospital very regularly. He was a big drinker. We told him time after time not to drink anymore," Ramya Fleming, a nurse who worked at the hospital at the time, was quoted saying after his death.

The funeral was held on Borella Cemetery, and thousands of people came for the funeral. At that time, it was said that all other monuments in cemetery were broken down by this huge crowd gathered to cemetery. The number of people came, was recorded as the most people gathering for a funeral in Sri Lanka, that never happened before in history even in any one's funeral.

Famous lyricist Dr. Ajanthaa Ranasinghe said that, "Died Jothipala was too strong and popular than the lived Jothipala", proving that after his death, his songs reached its ultimate popularity and even now his songs are sing in every Reality show in Sri Lanka. Another journalist reported Jothipala's death as "The Falling of Sinhala Cultural peak stone".

Numerous acitivities are still under way throughout the country for his commomorations.

Some of his top tracks out of thousands of songs Jothi sang are listed below for the referral.

Aawa Pempatha - click here

Adara Madura Athethe - click here or here

Ai Dan Epa Wela - click here

Al Hene Pal Rakiddi - click here

Aloke Athethaye - click here

Ananda Saagare - click here

Anangaya Man - click here

Andanne Ai Sudu Manike - click here

As Deka Wage Hitiya Dennata - click here or here

Awa Awrudu Dewi - click here

Awrudu Awa Nawa Awrudu Awa - click here

Awrudu Langa Wuna / Siri suba Nekatha - click here

Awrudu Nawa Sanda Payanne - click here

Chandana Allen - click here

Chandra Me Ra Paya - click here

Dakina Dasune - click here

Denna Priye Dathata Datha - click here

Dolos Mahe Pahana Wage - click here

Durakathanayakin - click here

Gedara Hitia Rosa Kakula Rosa - click here or here

Hada Uman Thana - click here

Hanga Gallene Inna Kumariyee - click here

Hitinna Poddak Hitinna - click here or here

Honda Siriyawai - click here or here or here or here

Ira Handa Wandala - click here

Jeewithe Tharuna Kaale - click here

Kiri Ithirewa Nawa Wasare - click here

Koi Yanne - click here

Kokilaya Kewiliya Haa - click here

Kola Kada Kada - click here

Kothanaka Sitiyath Oba Melowe - click here

Lassanai Balanna - click here

Maa Prarthana Asawo - click here

Maa Winda Wedanawa - click here

Mahada Namathi Wana Bambara - click here or here

Mal Kekuli - click here

Mal Wehi Seethala Mal Wesse - click here

Malin Piri Giya Wisal Wane - click here or here

Mama Gannemi Karakara Bandala - click here or here

Me Dasa Mage - click here

Me Nonimena Diwi Gamane - click here or here

Me Jeewanaye Mulu Sansare - click here or here

Meedum Gala Kande - click here

Muladi Banda Adarayaka - click here

Nawa Awrudu Da Bakmase - click here

Neela Dasa Pura - click here

Ninda Nena Rathriye - click here

Nupurudu Hangumaki - click here or here

Oba Dakmen Ma Netha Labuwe - click here

Oba Mage Neth Deka Wage - click here

Obe Pem Wadan Na Eda Men Asenne - click here or here

Pana Wage Hitiya - click here

Pata Podak Thilakala - click here or here

Pandam Alla Gath Nambu - click here

Paya Ai Hinahenne - click here

Punsanda Rantharu / Mal Ethano - click here or here

Raththaran Pem Purane - click here

Robin Hood Wage / Saradiyel - click here

Sanda Modu Wela Nagena - click here

Sara Sande Sina Sewi - click here or here

Seetha Sunil Diya Dahara La nil Kandu Manahara - click here or here

Seetha Mosam - click here

Senehasa Nathido Samawa Bedannata - click here

Sihina Ahase Wasanthe - click here or here

Siriyame Saara Nagewi Hada Mora - click here

Sobawa Hanga Me Lo Thale - click here

Sonduru Lowata - click here
(H. R. Jothipala with Anjaleen Gunathilaka)

Siriyame Sara - click here

Taj Mahalak - click here or here

Thilakawi Mage - click here or here

Unmadiniye Ai Yanu Pitupala - click here

Wana Malata Asawe - click here or here

Wenathaka Yanna Giya - click here