Anton Jones -wellknown for his historical ballads

anten.jpg (13921 bytes)by Kalinga Weerakkody
Anton Jones was well known for his meaningful ballads during his over five decades singing career. He released his latest CD and cassette ‘Sihiwatana’ on August 21 this year which includes 14 songs with two new compositions namely one of the terrorist attack on the American W.T.C. and the other on the Hokandara killing in February 1999, where six persons of the same family was brutally hacked to death. The other songs are the original music tracks done some time back.

The songs: The terrorist attack on the American W.T.C. lyricist D. B. T. Edirisinghe, music director Ernest Soyza (E.S.), song about pavement hawkers - lyricist J. D. Sumanapala (J.D.S.) — melodies by Anton Jones — music director Stanley Peiris (SP), song about the 2001 general election lyricist J. D. Sumanapala — music director Asoka Peiris, award-lyricist Hemasiri Halpita — music director Priya Sooriyasena (PS), Thambiliyapola Kusumalatha — (early 80’s) lyricist J.D.S. — music director P.S., Driver — lyricist J.D.S. — music director S.P., Wilpattu (80’s) tragic-lyricist J. D. Sumanapala — music director — P.S., Denagama Gnanawathi — lyricist J.D.S — music direction — Sanath Nandasiri, Wadakabhari (Nagging, complaining women) lyricist — Wally Bastiansz - music director — Sarath de Alwis, Mata kam ne sudu -lyricist Anton Isaac - Sarath de Alwis, Drought — lyricist Sarath Kulasiri — melody — Upali Kannangara and music director Sarath de Alwis, Yards — lyricist — Swinton Fernando — melody Anton Jones-music direction Sarath de Alwis, Uyala Piyala (cooking) lyricist Wally Bastiansz — melody Anton Jones — music Sarath de Alwis, Raththaran — lyricist Anton Isaac — music direction Sarath de Alwis, Hokandara Tragedy (1999) - lyricist — Ajantha Ranasinghe — music direction — E.S., Carnival — lyricist Shirley Bastiansz (younger brother of Wally) — music direction Mahinda Bandara.

Anton said though there are fast numbers he didn’t want to dub them, most of his fans like to listen to earcatching melodies of the 70s and 80s.

Anton’s only duet was ‘Horahin Balanna’ with Angelin Goonatileke to the music direction of Premasiri Khemadasa and by Kenneth Perera on behalf of the Silverline Record Bar.

When asked why he didn’t put out any new creations for a long time, he said that he doesn’t like to bargain with socalled CDs and cassette producers who want creations of a cheap quality without realising the value of true artistes.

The last time he did a cassette was in 1997 with ‘Sunflowers’ which included all time hits.

Asked why he preferred to sing ballads, he said he wanted to introduce a new pattern different from the other singers.

He succeeded in his attempts and was identified as a vocalist who often sang on historical events.

He said his style of singing was appreciated by his fans as they were meaningful and made youngsters learn about some of our historical events.

To name a few of the songs which became all time hits —

‘Premawathi Manamperi’ — who was brutally killed during the 1971 insurgency’ ‘Aasai Bayayi’ — the tragic boat accident in the river Nilwala, ‘D.C.— 8 plane crash’ in 1974 on December 4th on the Knuckles range (Seven Virgins mountain range) bordering Maskeliya, ‘Podi Wije’ — a notorious robber of Polonnaruwa, ‘Sepala Ekanayaka’ — who hijacked a plane in the mid 80s, ‘Kandy Perahera’ — the tragic incident which cost several lives when the tusker of the Maligawa ran amok, ‘Maru Sira’ — another notorious gangster who was sentenced to gallows. ‘Saman Kumara’ — who was abducted and murdered in the Rs. 5 lakhs ransom case, Ceylon Turf Club, four lakhs robbery, ‘Eric Batcho’ — who murdered Marlene Ludowyke in the early 50’s, ‘Mighty Cyclone’ in 1978 which devastated parts of the eastern province, ‘AIDS killer’ — a song about AIDS.

Beside his ballads he also sang humourous songs about people who wasted their time gossiping neglecting their official duties.

He also sang songs such as ‘Komala Papa’ in the film ‘Ohoma Hondada’ (early 70s) directed by S. Selvaratnam which also featured veteran vocalist comedian Freddie Silva.

He also sang songs about historical places such as ‘Sigiriya’ (Segiri giri sikaraya) and about Mt. Lavinia beach ‘Galkisse mudu werale’.

Anton has visited London, France (twice), Italy, Canada, Japan, Lebanon (twice), Kuwait (twice), UAE (six times), Qatar and Bahrain (twice). His recent tours were in February 2002 to Korea and Cyprus.

He said TV channels gave preference to a few selected artistes. There is no point of talking about that as true vocalists can’t be created over TV or radio.

He appealed to media personnel to treat all artistes alike something which hasn’t happened from the introduction of TV here.