M. K. Rocksamy’s timeless contribution to film music


M.K. Rocksamy with his wife Indrani

When Maria Kolande Rocksamy —better known as M. K. Rocksamy— died at 56 on November 30, 1988, in those days of political upheaval, nobody cared much except his immediate colleagues in the local film and music industry.

But, ironically, through the 24 years that followed, the name M. K. Rocksamy has weathered all storms to remain an integral part of the common man’s psyche – a ‘rocking’ impression. One brief look at the list of thousands of his songs will prove this point.

He traced his ancestry to a music-loving family in Goa and it is said that one of his mother’s favourites, when she played the seraphina, had been ‘Premayen Mana Ranjitha We’ of the dramatic classic ‘Maname’.

The flamboyance with which he played the saxophone and the violin made him leave his formal education at Anderson College, Slave Island, at age 17 to join the SLBC (then Radio Ceylon) orchestra. Eight hours of strenuous practice every day with the violin made Rocksamy the most sought after violinist in this country.

His exceptional skill to play many a musical instrument and his knowledge of Carnatic music, which he gathered from one Sangaralingam in Colpetty, led him to the well known R. A. Chandrasena who guided ‘Rock’ to none other than Ramayya Muttusamy. Muttusamy’s film orchestra at the S. M. Nayagam Studio at Kandana changed his destiny. That was during the latter part of the 1950s. A unique and highly influential film music director was born there. Since then he dominated Sinhala popular cinema from 1960s to the mid 1980s; two decades of film music.

The problem of the ever- widening ethnic rift had engulfed the island by the 1980s. Amid cut throat competition in an overtly nice yet covertly ugly arts field, Rocksamy stamped his signature. He emerged a figure admired more or less by both the layman and the critic. That too at a time the arts were literally split in two, popular and classic.

‘Rock’ created rare theme music for films, his ‘Sinhala Avurudda Evilla’ emerged one of the most popular songs across social divides and some of the serene love songs to which he gave music became evergreen hits.

Still, the man led a simple life at Kandana with his wife and three children, Jeevan Augustine, Anna Radika and Anjala Devika. The sight of ‘Rock’ master taking a walk to the Nayagam Studio with the violin in his hand had been a common sight then. Nobody would have ever thought the man’s influence could one day be so enormous and long lasting.

"With music, it is possible to make our hearts overflow with kindness, compassion and purity and dispel thoughts of craving and hatred. That is the beauty and value of music." – M. K. Rocksamy

Some popular songs by Rocksamy:

Evilla Evilla Sinhala Avurudda Evilla, Jeewana Vila Meda, Piyaapath Sala, Madu Mala Lesa, Agaada Saagaraye, Menikak Rakina, Budu Saamine and Sithin Ma Noseli Sitiddi.

Some films for which Rocksamy provided music -

Sansare (1962), Dheewarayo (1964), Chandalie (1964), Suhada Sohoyuro (1963), Mahare Hamuwa Striya (1966), Ran Rasa (1967), Haara Lakshaya (1971), Edath Sooraya Adath Soooraya (1972), Susy (1976), Kawda Raja (1976), Deviyani Oba Kohida (1977), Sakunthala (1977), Siri Pathula (1978), Re Manamalee (1982), Raththaran Kanda (1985), Ponmani (Tamil), Raththathin Raththamai (Tamil), Maniyar Veedu (Tamil), Naan Ungul Tholan (Tamil).


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