Marius the music maestro

by Kalinga Weerakkody
Marius Fernando a veteran pianist cum organist turned Recording Engineer is also a well known teledrama and film music director.

He began his professional musical career in 1975 with the band ‘Rising Star’ for which he played the Hawaiian guitar.

Even the famous singer Saman de Silva was one of the band members during that time.

He was grateful to Hemesiri Silva (former band leader of SEAC) for helping him to master the Hawaiian guitar.

He took a liking for music from the age of 8 when one of his uncle gifted him with a harmonium.

Marius recalling his past said his uncle was the Choir Master and organist at the St. Anne’s church in Sarikalamulla and often took him to sing in the choir.

He thanked his uncle M. S. Fernando (not the baila singer) for introducing him to the field of music.

Marius began his education career at St. Anne’s Roman Catholic school and completed his studies at St. Sebastian’s College, Moratuwa.

During his school days he played aesthetic instruments such as — Davula and Tammattama (traditional musical drums used in Sri Lankan folk music).

His father was a building contractor. The other three members of his family were his mother an elder sister and himself.

After leaving school he joined the Ceylon Technical College in Maradana and passed out as an electronic radio technician.

In 1997 he joined the band ‘Salt and Papper’ as a key board player and played in Bentota and Negombo tourist hotels.

For five consecutive years , the band played at ‘The Village’ and at the ‘The Lodge’ in Habarana and 1985 he joined Derrick de Silva’s group "Crystal Set".

While in that band his friend (Rupasena Silva) introduced him to one Chandana Silva the film director of ‘Kavulu Dora’ (1991) which happened to be Marius’s first film music direction.

His 2nd and 3rd film music directions were in "Surayahana Ginigani" (2000) and ‘Ginigath Madu Samaya’ (Honeymoon set ablaze) (2001) directed by Eranga Senaratne.

The song ‘Kumarana’ he directed for ‘Ginigath Madusamaya’, sung by Nirosha Viragini was nominated for Presidential Awards in 2001. The other song was a duet.

Marius directed music for 3 teledramas for Eranga Senaratna’s ‘Thonduwa’ (1995), ‘Ketumathi Raja Dhahana’ (1996) and ‘Pathini Vara’ (1998).

In 1992 he left the group ‘ Crystal Set’ and formed his own two piece band called ‘Tamasha’ with Shanthilal Kodagoda as (lead guitarist).

Before he formed his own band he played at ‘Hotel Taj Samudra’ as a ‘one man’ Organist.

In 1989 he released a cassette titled "Revival" with English numbers such as ‘Lappaloma’, ‘Love is Blue’, and ‘Under the bridges of Paris’, Sinhala pop hits such as C. T. Fernando’s ‘Kimada sumihiriye me arume’, ‘Mal loke’ and Hindi hits such as ‘Dil deke deko’, and Victor Rathnayaka’s ‘Baninna epa podi donita’.

During his musical career he composed songs for leading vocalists such as Ivor Dennis, Visharadha’s such as Malini Bulathsinhala, Swarnalatha Kavishwara and Yamuna Vinodhini, Christian hymns and also new comers such as Anura Vandebona and Malkumari Geetharani.

His wife is Chitrangani a former music teacher at St. Bridget’s Convent (Upper school) and is the father of a daughter Iroshika Fernando who is following her father’s footsteps as a professional pianist and organist.

At present Marius is working as a Recording Engineer with "Mahi Studio" in Moratuwa which he started with one of his friends Mahesh Fernando on 28.3.2000.

It is equipped with all modern Digital Recording systems which would cater to all local musicians and vocalists.

Marius said as a musician and also as a veteran Recording Engineer he would keep up to the standards in the international music scene.