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Vernon Corea - The Golden Voice of Radio Ceylon

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Vernon - Sri Lanka's pioneering Broadcaster
Radio Ceylon/Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC): The Story of Broadcasting in Sri Lanka
Vernon on the first ever television experimental program in Sri Lanka
Vernon Corea Presents...
London Sounds Eastern on BBC Radio London 206
EMCEE Column
Citizen Per-r-r-ra
Des Kelly and Bill Forbes on Vernon
Living in Ceylon (Sri Lanka)
Canon Ivan and Ouida Corea
Remembering Vernon
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Funeral Service in Wimbledon
Memorial Service in Colombo
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Radio Worldwide/WEC
Royal College Colombo
Bishop's College Calcutta
Maha Nuge Gardens
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Sri Lanka Cricket
Prayers for Autism
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Dominicus Corea - King of Kotte
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Vernon's appointment to the BBC was heralded by the 'Thunderer' The London Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Financial Times in London and other newspapers around the world.
 
Also read news articles about Vernon published in Sri Lankan Newspapers in Colombo.

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Annesley hails from the gem city of Sri Lanka- Ratnapura. He is the eldest of a family of three. He had his education at St. Josephs College, Colombo. After leaving school, he teamed up with Clarence Wijewardene and formed the famous group Moonstones. It was Sri Sangabo Corea who was instrumental in forming this group. The Moonstones became a household name in Sri Lanka and their first hit song Mango Nenda composed by Clarence and sung by Annesley became the first Sinhala song to hit the top of both Sinhala and English hit parades. For this great achievement Annesley is ever so grateful to M/s Sri Sangabo, Vijaya & Vernon Corea. If not for these three Gentlemen, there wouldnt have been a Clarence Wijewardene & Annesley Malawana.
 
From the ORIGINAL POP TRIO WEBSITE

Leisure
A tribute to Sinhala Pop Music hero Clarence Wijewardene
Annesley and Indrani in concert with the Gypsies
This show on December 2 evening will add much glamour with the backing of the Gypsies" along with guest artistes like the popular Sohan Weerasinghe,Corrine,Ronnie Leitch.If you remember Neville Fernando of the popular group in the 1960s-"Los Cabelleros" who sang the ever live songs like "Malbara Himidiriye and Master Sir",those beautiful memories and melodies of Neville could be heard on this day by his brother Errol who was a member of that popular group.

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Last but not the least as one cannot forget Vernon Corea when talking about the 1960s as he was there in charge of the "Ponds Hit Parade "programme over the English radio when Annesleys song"Mango Nanda" became the first Sinhala pop song to enter that English programme.

So, Annesley,Indrani and the Gypsies with Sunil will go into action sharp at 7.00pm on December 02 and it will be a day to come early to avoid the rush at this Sinhala pop show of the Millennium.

ISLAND NEWSPAPER SRI LANKA (November 2000)

Saturday Magazine
Remembering Clarence on his 58th birthday

clerance.jpg (18482 bytes)The man who revolutionised the Sinhala music scene in the mid 1960s introducing the guitar to create Sinhala pop music, Clarence Wijewardene would have turned fifty eight yesterday (03) if he was amongst us. This youthful looking man bid farewell to his fans nearly five years ago at the age of fifty three. Clarence was young at heart and he looked so even at that age. Introduced by Sri Sanghabo Corea, Clarence dominated the Sinhala pop scene for three decades till the time of his untimely death.Sanghabo extended his support and introduced Clarence to Vernon Corea who was the Commercial Manager of the then Radio Ceylon.Vernon in turn gave the responsibility of managing Clarence to Vijaya Corea who was an announcer at the Radio Ceylon in the English beam.

ISLAND NEWSPAPER SRI LANKA (August 2001)

Leisure
Local scene...
Clarence, Annesley, Indrani in CyberSpace

Clarence was a man who moved swiftly in the scene of music. Some of his compositions were done in five minutes at the recording studio. That was remarkable and exclusive experience among musicians. With Vernon Corea helping this young man at the then Radio Ceylon, Clarence broke into the "Saturday Stars" programme which was exclusively for English songs with the dynamic hits-"Mango Nanda, Dilhani, Sudu Menike and Ruwan Pure". Even "Dilhani" at the beginning was sung by Annesley as Indrani joined the "Moonstones" two years later in 1969. Indranis inclusion into the group made both Clarence and Annesley to transfer the song "Dilhani" to her as they felt it suited a female voice to gather momentum. The decision was correct and Indrani with "Dilhani" stole the hearts of music lovers to be their queen from then to now. That was how Indrani broke into popularity.

ISLAND NEWSPAPER SRI LANKA (July 2002)

TV TIMES

The story of La Bambas


A youngster pursuing through the pages of the Ceylon Observer in 1966 spotted an advertisement requesting young talented people to apply for a Talent quest to be held at the Coconut Grove at Galle Face Hotel.

He promptly took the challenge to apply for same after rounding up three other friends Rollinson Ferdinando, Priya Peiris and Lasla Fernando to sing with him. The youngster Brian Fernando from the musical town of Moratuwa had a fascination for modern Sinhalese folk music set up by Noel Ranasinghe and the La Ceylonians. His ambition for a long time was to form a group of this nature and so he thought that this invitation in the newspaper was an ideal opportunity for same.

The boys received a letter from the pop group Jetliners who were conducting the auditions to turn up at the Lewis Brown Studio for their very first audition in February 1966.

Brian still remembers how Mignonne and the Jetliners stopped them after listening to only four lines of modern Sinhalese folk harmony and gave them the green light to be billed on the contest. It was the May 25, 1966 when they finally got their long awaited moment to be featured at the Coconut Grove.

Unfortunately for them the crowd that gathered on that day were western pop fanatics. They jeered and booed them. Though discouraged we vowed that we will rise up and make those who booed, give them a standing ovation someday. Brian said in a special interview with the TV Times.

From there onwards started a story of blood, sweat and tears for the La Bambas who were coming up the ladder of success. They were faced with loads of opposition and fires of jealousy from all over. Yet they toiled night and day practicing very hard to come up. They are still thankful to people like Doctor Vijaya Corea, the late Vernon Corea, Noel Ranasinghe (Leader of the La Ceylonians) and the late Neville Fernando (leader of the Los Cabelleros), who urged them on against this tempest of opposition and helped them in numerous ways.

Sunday Times Newspaper Sri Lanka (2003)

 

News



 

Super Golden Chimes re-union show at BMICH today

Super Golden Chimes are back in the limelight with a grand reunion concert at the BMICH today.

They will be belting out all the old favourites. They have enthralled audiences all over the world. Annesley Malawana and Clarence Wijewardene were the inseparable duo who sang into the hearts of all Sri Lankans. Annesley and the Super Golden Chimes will be playing to a packed BMICH Hall today at 7.00pm.

Rukshan Perera, Sunil Malawan, Nimal Perera, Cumar Peirir, Chandral Fonseka, Dixon Gunaratne, Nelu Fernando and Paul Perera will come together afer two decades at the BMICH tonight.

Very much in Annesley's thoughts would be those who gave them a helping hand especially when they were young musicians waiting to climb up the ladder of success.

The Moonstones with Clarence and Annesley were hugely talented young musicians waiting to be discovered in the late 1960s early 1970s. The group were helped by the 3 Coreas who were cousins - Sri Sangabo Corea, Vernon Corea and Vijaya Corea.

Vernon is no more but his legacy lives on. Vernon's cousin Vijaya Corea went on to take Clarence and Annesley and the Super Golden Chimes on to greater heights. Today Annesley Malawana and the Super Golden Chimes will re-live that golden era of popular music and someone who will be there will be Sri Lanka's number one compere Dr. Vijaya Corea.

Also present in the audience at the BMICH will be Monica Corea, Vernon's widow who was always behind the scenes and backed and supported the young musicians who spent hours in the living room of Vernon Corea's residence in Maha Nuge Gardens.

DAILY MIRROR NEWSPAPER SRI LANKA (August 2003)

Lankas top broadcasters on international web

Two new international websites - the Top 100 Broadcasters of Sri Lanka and the Top 10 South Asian Broadcasters of All Time were recently launched.

Sri Lankan broadcasters - Those who have worked in public service broadcasting with the Sri Lankan Broadcasting Corporation and broadcasters working with the private commercial radio stations on the island have been asked to include their information on the two major websites.

Already information on three of Sri Lanka's outstanding broadcasters late Livy Wijemanne and Vernon Corea and Vijaya Corea have been included on both international sites.

The sites can also be accessed through the tribute site: Vernon Corea The Golden Voice of Radio Ceylon on-http://ivancorea.tripod.com/vernoncorea

DAILY MIRROR NEWSPAPER SRI LANKA (December  2003)


Home : Media : New Tribute Website on Vernon Corea Launched in London

New Tribute Website on Vernon Corea Launched in London

Added : (Sun Dec 28 2003)

NEW TRIBUTE WEBSITE ON VERNON COREA

A new tribute website, on one of Sri Lanka's outstanding broadcasters, was recently launched in London. Vernon Corea who died in New Malden in September 2002, was a pioneer of Radio Ceylon. He had a radio career spanning 45 years in public service broadcasting. He retired as Ethnic Minorities Adviser to the BBC.

The website contains interesting information on the story of broadcasting in Sri Lanka and looks at the life and times of Vernon Corea.

Please see:

http://www.vernoncorea.info

PRESSBOX UK WEBSITE (December 2003)

 

Media Network

Latest media news and musings from Radio Netherlands - the Dutch international service.

Tribute to Sri Lankan radio pioneer 

A new tribute Web site to one of Sri Lanka's outstanding broadcasters, was recently launched in London. Vernon Corea who died in September 2002, was a pioneer of Radio Ceylon. He had a radio career spanning 45 years in public service broadcasting. He retired as Ethnic Minorities Adviser to the BBC.

The Web site contains interesting information on the story of broadcasting in Sri Lanka and looks at the life and times of Vernon Corea.

http://www.vernoncorea.info
 
RADIO NETHELANDS WEBSITE (January 2004)
 
Radio H.F.Newsletter
Quebec, Canada
January 2004

Vernon Corea The Golden Voice of Radio Ceylon

www.vernoncorea.info
Via: Wilhelm Eilertsen, Oslo, Norway

A tribute site to one of Sri Lanka's outstanding broadcasters also contains interesting information on the story of broadcasting in Sri Lanka.

(RADIO HF NEWSLETTER - JANUARY 2004)

** CEYLON. TRIBUTE TO SRI LANKAN RADIO PIONEER

A new tribute Web site to one of Sri Lanka's outstanding broadcasters,
was recently launched in London. Vernon Corea who died in September
2002, was a pioneer of Radio Ceylon. He had a radio career spanning 45
years in public service broadcasting. He retired as Ethnic Minorities
Adviser to the BBC. The Web site contains interesting information on
the story of broadcasting in Sri Lanka and looks at the life and times
of Vernon Corea. http://www.vernoncorea.info

# posted by Andy @ 12:04 UT Jan 5 (Media Network blog via DXLD)

WORLD OF RADIO WEBSITE (January 2004)

Logo: back to homepage

UK DAY OF PRAYER FOR AUTISM IN AUTISM AWARENESS WEEK 2004 (22/05/2004)


UK Day of Prayer for Autism Autism Awareness Week in the UK -churches of all denominations are praying for the 520,000 autistic community and the 90,000 autistic children on Sunday 23rd May 2004.

Churches are using the prayers for autism, written by Vernon Corea, Ethnic Minorities Adviser to the BBC, who died in 2002, Autism Awareness Year.

(EUROPEAN YEAR OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES WEBSITE - May 2004)

From the Church of England Newspaper in the UK:

Church prayers urged for autism
 Date: May 20 2004,

Churches of different denominations are joining a national drive to dispel the myths surrounding autism during a special awareness week, which ends on Sunday.

Autism remains largely misunderstood in Britain, with research showing that although 84 per cent of people have heard of autism, 61 per cent think that it affects mainly children, rather than it being a lifelong condition, according to the National Autistic Society (NAS).

This years Autism Awareness Week (AAW) will highlight the experiences of people with autism, and their families, while churches all over the country are being asked to pray for the autistic community.

A website, set up in memory of Vernon Corea, a leading supporter of Autism Awareness Campaign UK who passed away in 2002, invites churchgoers to say the autism prayers written by the late campaigner.

There is still a great deal of suffering as parents, carers and people with autism struggle without public services in health, education, specialist speech therapy and respite care, organisers of the campaign said.

(CHURCH OF ENGLAND NEWSPAPER - MAY 2004)



A Day of Prayer for Autism- 23rd May - in Autism Awareness Week 2004
20 May 2004
It's Autism Awareness Week in the UK and churches of all denominations are praying for the 520,000 autistic community and the 90,000 autistic children on Sunday 23rd May 2004.

Autism Awareness Week in the UK and churches of all denominations are praying for the 520,000 autistic community and the 90,000 autistic children on Sunday 23rd May 2004.

Churches are using the prayers for autism written by Vernon Corea, Ethnic Minorities Adviser to the BBC, who died in 2002, Autism Awareness Year.

Vernon Corea was an Anglican who was born in Sri Lanka - he was Lay Reader at Emmanuel Church in Wimbledon Village. Vernon presented the popular London Sounds Eastern on BBC Radio London 206 in the 1970s and 1980s. He was deeply committed to the Autism Awareness Campaign as his grandson has ASD.
Autism Awareness Week - Vernon Corea's Prayers for Autism
Please access the website on:
http://autism-prayers.tripod.com

(DIMSUM WEBSITE - MAY 2004)

News

From Christdot News website:

Churches of all denominations are using the Prayers for Autism written by Vernon Corea in Autism Awareness Week.

Vernon Corea was the BBC'S Ethnic Minorities Adviser. He presented the popular 'London Sounds Eastern' radio program, produced by Keith Yeomans on BBC Radio London 206 in the 1970s and 1980s.

He was deeply committed to the Autism Awareness Campaign in the UK. Before he died in September 2002 he wrote beautiful prayers for autism - remembering all people with autism and asperger's syndrome not only in the United Kingdom but around the world.

Autism is a neuo-developmemental disorder it affects 520,000 autistic people in the UK and millions across the world. Numbers are rising all the time.

These prayers are now used by churches around the world in Autism Awareness Week. 

(FROM THE CHRISTDOT NEWS WEBSITE - JUNE 2004)

The Hindu Newspaper - India

1st July 2004

Those golden voices

They were truly great, and rarely intrusive



Ameen Sayani: still drawing fans

Willis Conover: The irony was that he rarely heard in the U.S. He was with the Voice of America, which was targeted at listeners outside the United States. Conover was one of the most important RJs in the history of jazz and fans never failed to tune in to his Jazz Hour. He worked in Washington D.C. and New York during the 1939-54 period. Conover's broadcasts introduced jazz to European (especially East European) listeners during the Cold War.

Bruce Belfrage: He was reading a news bulletin at the Beeb one night during the War when a bomb hit the building. After the briefest of pauses, he continued to read.

Willie Bryant: He was significant to music twice in his career, as the leader of a talented big band during 1935-38 and as a popular radio jockey in the 1950s. He recorded "Blues Around The Clock" and his original "It's Over Because We're Through".

Ameen Sayani: Hosted Binaca Geetmala on All India Radio, and his iconic voice became the badge of Akashvani. He still rules the airwaves with Radio Indigo.

Vernon Corea: Radio Ceylon's pioneering broadcaster, he was instrumental in introducing Sinhala music into the English service.

(THE HINDU - JULY 2004)

Sunday Observer in Sri Lanka

18th July 2004

Features

The golden voice of Radio Ceylon

By Somapala Perera



Vernon Corea

A new website - www.vernoncorea.info was recently launched in London remembering one of Sri Lanka's outstanding broadcasters - a pioneer of Radio Ceylon and the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation. The website includes tributes from two great broadcasters - former SLBC Director-General Neville Jayaweera and former BBC Director-General Greg Dyke. Cherie Blair, wife of Prime Minister Tony Blair observed of Vernon Corea, ' You can be proud of what he did for the ethnic minorities.' We look at the life and times of this great broadcaster...

Greg Dyke, Director-General BBC said 'Vernon was a pioneering influence in the BBC and helped to lay the foundation for the work we are continuing to do to make sure our staff and our programmes are truly representative of our nation's diverse population.

We remember with gratitude and pride his launching of London Sounds Eastern on BBC Radio London, and his generosity in mentoring and training people from ethnic minority backgrounds for the BBC.

Vernon will be greatly missed for his warmth, his integrity and his commitment.....'

Vernon Corea, Sri Lanka's pioneering broadcaster, died on September 23rd, 2002 aged 75 years. He lived in New Malden in Surrey.

Vernon was born in Kurana, Katunayke on September 11, 1927. The Corea family are descendants of Dominicus Corea who was crowned King of Kotte in the 16th century. Vernon's parents were the late Canon Ivan Corea and Ouida Corea, one time Rural Dean of Colombo of the Church of Sri Lanka and Vicar of St. Lukes Church, Borella. In the late 1950s Canon Corea was appointed Vicar of St. Paul's Milagiriya.

Vernon was educated at Royal College, Colombo and at Bishop's Theological College in Calcutta, India but decided not to pursue ordination.

Vernon Corea returned to Sri Lanka and went into teaching at Uva College, Badulla where he met his wife, Monica, who was also a teacher. After the death of their first born son Harishchandra, Vernon and Monica moved to Colombo. He joined Radio Ceylon as a Relief Announcer in 1956.

Vernon appointed as an Announcer in Radio Ceylon in 1957 by the Director of the Commercial Service, Clifford R. Dodd. Vernon joined the 'greats' - Livy Wijemanne, Pearl Ondaatje, Tim Horshington, Greg Roskowski, Jimmy Barucha, Mil Sansoni, Eardley Peiris, Shirley Perera, Bob Harvie, Chris Greet, Prosper Fernando, Ameen Sayani (of Binaca Geet Mala fame), S.P. Mylvaganam (the first Tamil Announcer on the Commercial Service), H.M. Gunasekera to name a few. They blazed a trail in broadcasting in South Asia. Vernon also worked with the legendary Karunaratne Abeysekera, they were very close friends.

People from all over the Indian sub-continent stayed awake into the wee hours of the morning to listen to the announcers from Radio Ceylon. Fan mail flooded from all over South Asia. Radio ruled the airwaves in the 1950s and 1960s.

Television hadn't even arrived in Ceylon. Announcers like Vernon were the pioneers of public service broadcasting in Ceylon.

Vernon presented some of the most popular radio programmes in South Asia: Two for the Money, Kiddies Korner, Old Folks at Home, To Each His Own, Ponds Hit Parade, Saturday Stars, Take it or Leave It, Maliban Bandwagon (Maliban Show), Roving Mike, Dial-a-disc, Holiday Choice, Sunday Choice and many more. Vernon was also a sought after compere of countless dinners, dances, events and he was at the helm of many a New Year celebration and his voice greeted listeners with a cheerful 'Happy New Year,' in the 1960s and 1970s.

Vernon was called upon to present the first ever experimental television broadcast from Colombo in 1972.

These were the first tentative steps into the world of television. He appeared in the first grainy pictures on the television screen presenting the first experimental TV program in Colombo.

He was instrumental in introducing Sinhala music into the English Service. Together with his cousins, Sangabo Corea and Vijaya Corea he made Clarence Wijewardene, Annesley Malawana and other talented Sri Lankan musicians, household names.

He had an influential EMCEE column in the Daily News in the 1960s and 1970s and many musicians went to see Vernon, in order to publicise their group. It was a huge plus to be featured in the EMCEE column of the Daily News. Vernon has also mentored the great Sri Lankan radio names of today, including his cousin Vijaya Corea and Nihal Bhareti.

The family moved to England in 1975 when Vernon and Monica became the first Asian missionaries at the Worldwide Evangelization Crusade founded by the all England cricketer C. T. Studd. They worked for the radio arm of WEC, Radio Worldwide who were stationed in Upper Norwood South East London at the time.

After a spell in religious broadcasting Vernon was invited to present the first ever Asian programme in English. "London Sounds Eastern" on BBC Radio London 206.

This was certainly a first for the Sri Lankan Community in the UK and other Asian Communities. Vernon paved the way for radio programs in English involving Asian culture, Asian music and personalities.

The programme was very successful and Vernon interviewed Pandit Ravi Shankar, Pandit Amaradeva, Asha Bhosle, Usha Uthup, Lata Mangeshkhar, Clarence Wijeywardene, Annesley Malawana,Nimal Mendis, Reginald and Jamila Massey, among a whole host of distinguished personalities. 'London Sounds Eastern' built up a huge following and Vernon was reaching new audiences across the capital, he was even featured on the pages of the BBC Radio Times along with Alex Pascall.

Vernon covered the Royal Wedding of His Royal Highness Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales to Lady Diana Spencer for the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation and he voiced news reports on the visits of President J. R. Jayewardene and Prime Minister Ranasinghe Premadasa to the UK. He was invited to Buckingham Palace to meet the Prince of Wales who has a special interest in Asian culture.

Vernon took up the post of Asian Programmes Officer at the BBC, he was in the forefront of training people from the minority ethnic communities - this was a first for the BBC in terms of Local Radio. He was the first Sri Lankan to be appointed to senior management at the BBC.

In 1978, Vernon Corea was appointed as the first Ethnic Minorities Adviser for the British Broadcasting Corporation and held it until his retirement. The BBC were trying to be more inclusive and Vernon brought with him a whole new picture within Britian's multicultural mosaic. Vernon valued diversity and he certainly changed views at the BBC.

He was a man who was not depressed or down and he attributed his state of well-being to Jesus Christ. He used to always tell his children, 'take it to the Lord.' Vernon was a Lay Reader at Christ Church in Gipsy Hill, South East London and also at Emmanuel Church in Wimbledon Village in South West London.

Vernon has left a magnificent legacy to Sri Lankan and British Broadcasting with 45 years of service to public service broadcasting. The London Times (8th October, 2002) and the London Guardian (October 15th) paid tribute to the pioneering work undertaken by Vernon Corea who was dubbed. "The Golden Voice of Radio Ceylon."

(FROM THE SUNDAY OBSERVER NEWSPAPER IN SRI LANKA - JULY 2004)

 

ALL ABOUT JAZZ

News Headlines

Duke Ellington's visit to Ceylon on Vernon Corea's website

 2004-09-24

Duke Ellington's tour of Ceylon in 1963 has been mentioned on the tribute site to one of Sri Lanka's outstanding broadcasters, Vernon Corea, a pioneer of Radio Ceylon and the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation. Vernon Corea was appointed an Ethnic Minorities Adviser to the BBC in 1978. He also presented the popular 'London Sounds Eastern' on BBC Radio London 206. Vernon Corea passed away in New Malden, Surrey in the UK in September 2002. He was a real jazz enthusiast and counted Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington among his favourite jazz musicians.

Vernon Corea met Duke Ellington at Radio Ceylon in 1963. Duke Ellington and his orchestra played to capacity audiences in Colombo on his tour of the Far East.

For further information please see 'Vernon Corea The Golden Voice of Radio Ceylon' http://www.vernoncorea.info

(FROM THE ALL ABOUT JAZZ WEBSITE - SEPTEMBER 2004)

 


 

 

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News

Vernon Corea's 2nd death anniversary fell on Sept 23

The second death anniversary of broadcaster, Vernon Corea, fell on September 23. The Hindu newspaper recently placed Corea among the top five great broadcasters of the world alongside fellow Radio Ceylon presenter Ameen Sayani of Binaca Geet Mala fame.

Corea joined Radio Ceylon in 1956 and left the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation as Director News in 1975. He was the first Sri Lankan ever to be appointed to senior management at the BBC as Ethnic Minorities adviser.

Corea's contribution to broadcasting in the UK through his popular London Sounds Eastern on BBC Radio London is immense.

Corea was invited to present the first ever Asian radio program in English on BBC Local Radio - in 1977 - this was a first for the British Broadcasting Corporation.

In the past, Asian programs were in Hindi or Urdu and other Asian languages - Corea pioneered the way when his voice hit the airwaves on BBC Radio London with his radio program, London Sounds Eastern Corea was once again at his best, in front of a microphone - this time at the British Broadcasting Corporation.

British journalist Richard Bath, writing about London Sounds Eastern said: "the program aimed at attracting not just an immigrant audience, but also at improving integration and community relations".

London Sounds Eastern built up a huge audience in the capital. Corea was on top of the world introducing ragas from India, music from Sri Lanka, Singapore, Pakistan - it was diverse, exciting and entertaining. London Sounds Eastern was produced by BBC man, Keith Yeomans.

The Station Manager of BBC Radio London, Alan Holden backed Corea's efforts. London Sound Eastern became a very popular program with Londoners reaching a whole new audience.

Pandit Ravi Shankar, Pandith Amaradeva, Lata Mangeshkhar, Asha Bhosle, Usha Uthup, Clarence Wijeywardene, Annesly Malawana, Nimal Mendis, Mignonne Fernando and The Jetliners, Eranga and Priyanage, journalist and author Reginald Massey and his actress wife Jamila Massey of Mind Your Language fame were among those featured on London Sounds Eastern.

Corea had featured the Sri Lankan artistes way back in the 1950s and 1960s. The Sri Lankan international superstar Nimal Mendis - who even appeared with Sandra Edema in the 1960s on Top of the Pops was 'discovered' by Radio Ceylon in the 1950s.

Here was Corea featuring Mendis on BBC Radio London 20 years later. Many of these artistes remained close friends with Corea. Husha Uthup was a frequent visitor to Vernon's BBC office at the Langham, opposite Broadcasting House in London, whenever she was in London 'in concert' - she even used to sing Sri Lankan baila in Corea's office - because she knew the people of Sri Lanka so well. Mendis was a close friend too.

Superstars Clarence Wijeywardene and Annesly Malawana always mentioned Corea in their concerts in London. Corea was the first to write about them in the 1960s in his EMCEE column in the Ceylon Daily News.

BBC's Radio Times had a special focus on the program and Corea was featured in the BBC Radio Times for the first time in 1976. The program ran for an hour every week on a Sunday evening.

Corea told newsmen in London: I want the program to be very open and develop in style as time goes on. But I am also interested in the positive aspects of Asian family life and other Asian qualities, although overall, my style is very informal.

As a result of the radio program and the work done by Corea he was appointed Asian Programs Officer for BBC Local Radio. The BBC recognised Corea's talents and his exceptional qualities.

He retired from the BBC as an Ethnic Minorities Adviser. Corea's radio career had turned full circle. It was a fitting end to one of Sri Lanka's outstanding broadcasters.

(PUBLISHED IN THE DAILY NEWS SRI LANKA 28th September 2004)

 

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CORPORATION OF LONDON NEWS
 
Vernon Corea's 2nd death anniversary fell on Sept 23
Daily News, Sri Lanka -
... with his radio program, London Sounds Eastern Corea was once again at his best, in front of a microphone - this time at the British Broadcasting Corporation. ...
 
(Corporation of London Website - September 2004)
 

Home : Media : BBC and SLBC pay tribute to broadcaster Vernon Corea

BBC and SLBC pay tribute to broadcaster Vernon Corea

Sunday Oct 3rd 2004

(NEW DELHI) The BBC and the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation led tributes to one of South Asia's outstanding broadcasters Vernon Corea - his second death anniversary fell on 23rd September.

Veteran broadcaster Vernon Corea died in New Malden in Surrey in the United Kingdom on the 23rd of September 2002, aged 75. Corea was appointed the first ever Ethnic Minorities Adviser to the BBC in 1978. He also presented the popular 'London Sounds Eastern,' program on BBC Radio London 206 in the late 1970s.

Former Director-General of the British Broadcasting Corporation, Greg Dyke said: 'He was a pioneering influence in the BBC and helped to lay the foundation for the work we are continuing to do to make sure our staff and our programmes are truly representative of our nation's diverse population.

We remember with gratitude and pride his launching of London Sounds Eastern on BBC Radio London, and his generosity in mentoring and training people from ethnic minority backgrounds for the BBC.

Vernon will be greatly missed for his warmth, his integrity and his commitment.'

Recently the Hindu Newspaper placed Vernon Corea among the greatest broadcasters of the world alongside Ameen Sayani of 'Binaca Geet Mala' fame. Corea was one of the most popular Ceylonese Announcers in India in the 1950s and 1960s. Indians stayed up to listen to his 'golden voice.'

The Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation(SLBC) broadcast tribute programs on his death anniversary. A website to the Corporation of London even had news of Corea

The Daily News in Colombo noted: 'Corea joined Radio Ceylon in 1956 and left the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation as Director News in 1975. He was the first Sri Lankan ever to be appointed to senior management at the BBC as Ethnic Minorities adviser.

Corea's contribution to broadcasting in the UK through his popular London Sounds Eastern on BBC Radio London is immense.

Corea was invited to present the first ever Asian radio program in English on BBC Local Radio - in 1977 - this was a first for the British Broadcasting Corporation,'said the Daily News.

Radio listeners on the Indian sub-continent are now calling on the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation to name a studio after Vernon Corea.

'Vernon Corea was one of Ceylon's popular radio announcers it would be a tremendous gesture,' said Raj Desai of Bombay. 'Announcers like Vernon Corea were part of the golden age of Radio Ceylon,' he added.

InfoLanka Newsroom

BBC and SLBC pay tribute to broadcaster Vernon Corea
Oct 5 (PB) The BBC and the SLBC led tributes to one of South Asia's outstanding broadcasters Vernon Corea - his second death anniversary fell on 23rd September. Veteran broadcaster Vernon Corea died in New Malden in Surrey in the United Kingdom on the 23rd of September 2002, aged 75. more..
 
(INFO LANKA WEBSITE OCTOBER 2004)
 
 

 



 

 
15th October 2004

In Memoriam:Vernon Corea

Tributes have been paid to veteran broadcaster Vernon Corea on the second anniversary of his death from diabetes in New Malden.

Born in the then British colony of Ceylon in 1927, the 75-year-old is largely credited with the creation of today's BBC Asian Network, after arriving in London from Sri Lanka in 1975 as a missionary with the Worldwide Evangelisation Crusade (WEC).

Eschewing a career in the priesthood he joined Radio Ceylon in 1956 becoming one of the most popular Ceylonese announcers in India in the 1950's and 1960's and being widely referred to as its golden voice'.

By the time Corea left the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation in 1975 he had risen to the position of director of news and was increasingly involved with the broadcasting arm of WEC, Radio Worldwide.

He was appointed the first Ethnic Minorities Advisor to the BBC in 1978 and throughout the late 1970s he presented the popular London Sounds Eastern on BBC Radio London, forging links with 20 local radio stations.

Through his work at the BBC, Corea became a role model for a generation of minority media professionals and the training programmes he set up filled a crucial gap in the multicultural mosaic.

Many well-known names owe their first studio experience to his encouragement of new talent.

Respect for Corea remains high. Greg Dyke, former director general of the BBC, praised his pioneering influence on the BBC.

He said: "We remember with gratitude and pride his generosity in mentoring and training people from ethnic minority backgrounds for the BBC."

The Hindu Newspaper has recently placed him among the greatest broadcasters in the world and radio listeners in the Indian sub-continent are now calling on the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation to name a studio after him.

Never one to mince his words, his penchant for lyrical expression amused, inspired and educated younger junior broadcasters and seasoned professionals alike. His vibrant personality won him accolades and cast him as a tower of strength within the broadcasting industry.

Vernon Corea left behind a wife, two sons and a daughter.

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BRITISH NEWSPAPERS PAY TRIBUTE TO SRI LANKAN BROADCASTER VERNON COREA
 
Russ Cooray 27-10-2004

British newspapers have paid glowing tributes to Sri Lanka-born broadcaster Vernon Corea, a pioneer of Radio Ceylon and the BBC, on his second death anniversary. Listeners from the Indian sub-continent are calling for a studio at the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation to be named after him. A new website www.vernoncorea.info was launched in memory of Vernon Corea.

Vernon Corea was an Ethnic Minorities Adviser to the BBC and presented the popular 'London Sounds Eastern' program on BBC Radio London in the 1970s and 1980s. His unmistakable voice reached millions in the Indian sub-continent and in the United Kingdom. Radio Ceylon (now the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation) was hugely popular in South Asia, it is the oldest radio station in the region. Millions of listeners on the Indian sub-continent tuned in to listen to outstanding Announcers like Vernon Corea.

The prestigious Richmond and Twickenham Times in the UK had this to say about Vernon Corea who died in New Malden, Surrey on 23rd September 2002: In Memoriam:Vernon Corea -'Tributes have been paid to veteran broadcaster Vernon Corea on the second anniversary of his death from diabetes in New Malden.

Born in the then British colony of Ceylon in 1927, the 75-year-old is largely credited with the creation of today's BBC Asian Network, after arriving in London from Sri Lanka in 1975 as a missionary with the Worldwide Evangelisation Crusade (WEC). Eschewing a career in the priesthood he joined Radio Ceylon in 1956 becoming one of the most popular Ceylonese announcers in India in the 1950's and 1960's and being widely referred to as its golden voice'.

By the time Corea left the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation in 1975 he had risen to the position of director of news and was increasingly involved with the broadcasting arm of WEC, Radio Worldwide. He was appointed the first Ethnic Minorities Advisor to the BBC in 1978 and throughout the late 1970s he presented the popular London Sounds Eastern on BBC Radio London, forging links with 20 local radio stations. Through his work at the BBC, Corea became a role model for a generation of minority media professionals and the training programmes he set up filled a crucial gap in the multicultural mosaic.

Many well-known names owe their first studio experience to his encouragement of new talent. Respect for Corea remains high. Greg Dyke, former director general of the BBC, praised his pioneering influence on the BBC. He said: "We remember with gratitude and pride his generosity in mentoring and training people from ethnic minority backgrounds for the BBC."

The Hindu Newspaper has recently placed him among the greatest broadcasters in the world and radio listeners in the Indian sub-continent are now calling on the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation to name a studio after him. Never one to mince his words, his penchant for lyrical expression amused, inspired and educated younger junior broadcasters and seasoned professionals alike. His vibrant personality won him accolades and cast him as a tower of strength within the broadcasting industry.

Vernon Corea left behind a wife, two sons and a daughter.'

(SRI LANKA EVERYTHING INTERNATIONAL WEBSITE OCTOBER 2004)

Sri Lanka Remembers the Legendary Vernon Corea   
09/19 07:15PM

General NewsVernon Corea's 3rd Death Anniversary falls on 23rd September 2005. The world of broadcasting will remember the legendary Radio Ceylon and BBC Broadcaster who pioneered public service broadcasting spanning a career of 45 years, helping many Sri Lankan musicians during this time.

The Hindu Newspaper in India placed him in the top 5 broadcasters of the world. The BBC will also remember the broadcaster from South Asia who presented the popular 'London Sounds Eastern' radio program on BBC Radio London in the 1970s and 1980s. He introduced Lata Mangeshkar, Pandit Ravi Shankar, Asha Bhosle, Usha Uthup and many other South Asian music stars to British audiences through 'London Sounds Eastern' produced by Keith Yeomans.

Neville Jayaweera, former Chairman and Director-General of the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation paid a tribute to Vernon Corea: 'I first heard of Vernon Corea, as many others too did, before I had ever met him face to face. In the early nineteen sixties Vernon was probably the most popular male voice heard over Radio Ceylon's English Commercial Service. It was Vernon who compiled and presented that incredibly popular listener's request program every Sunday afternoon, called "To each his own" for over a decade. This was the program that served as a channel through which popular American music, particularly "Country and Western" songs poured into Sri Lanka and fashioned the musical tastes and values of a whole youth generation.

I actually met Vernon for the first time when I assumed duties as the Director General of the Ceylon Broadcasting Corporation in 1966. Throughout my stay at Radio Ceylon Vernon worked very closely with the management and his loyalty and commitment to his responsibilities was never in doubt. Starting as an announcer and presenter he rose rapidly to exercise higher managerial responsibilities
,' said Neville Jayaweera.

The Hindu Newspaper said Vernon Corea was the first to introduce Sinhala music onto the English Services of Radio Ceylon. Corea has helped many Sri Lankan musicians up the ladder of fame - these included Clarence Wijewardene, Annesley Malewana and The Moonstones, Nimal Mendis, Bill Forbes, Des Kelly, Adrian Ferdinands, Cliff Foenander, The Jetliners and a host of Sri Lankan artists.

Des Kelly, the Sri Lanka born star now living in Melbourne in Australia noted: 'Vernon Corea will always be fondly remembered by his colleagues and friends as a man who gave freely of his time to aspiring “artistes” and other radio personalities alike. '

Bill Forbes spiraled upwards to stardom when he appeared on Jack Good's 'Oh Boy,' a groundbreaking British pop music show from 1958-1959, in London with Cliff Richard, Marty Wilde, Bill Fury and others. He released 12 hits for EMI Columbia among them 'Too Young/It's Not the End of the World,' Sri Lankans still sing his 'baila hit' 'Aacha England,' recorded under the name of Kal Khan. 'Oh to be in England!' was a favorite of Vernon's.

Bill Forbes met Vernon Corea in the early 1960s at Radio Ceylon.Forbes traveled to Ceylon after his outstanding success in 'Oh Boy' Vernon was one of the first to interview him and play his hits on Radio Ceylon.Vernon also wrote about Bill Forbes in his Entertainment columns published in the Ceylon Daily News. Bill Forbes also appeared on Donovan Andree's musical shows in Colombo in the early 1960s. He shares his memories: ' Friendly Vernon spun my discs together with Livy Wijemanne, Jimmy Barucha, Chris Greet, Nimal Mendis & Co - and I sincerely thank him and the others for their kindness.

It was lovely to read about Vernon's achievements and his Golden Voice will always be remembered when Radio Ceylon is mentioned. His legacy will live on.May Vernon's efforts in life musical and otherwise be remembered dearly
.....' said Bill Forbes in the United Kingdom.

WORLD MUSIC CENTRAL - 19th September 2006

Vernon Corea: embodiment of high moral integrity

VERNON Corea, the legendary broadcaster of Radio Ceylon died on September 23, 2002, three years ago. Neville Jayaweera, former Chairman and Director-General of the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation remembers Vernon Corea who enjoyed a career of 45 years in public service broadcasting at Radio Ceylon / SLBC and the BBC.

WRITING about Vernon Corea presents a challenge such as one would not normally encounter when paying tribute to a colleague and friend who has passed on. He was such a complex and multi-faceted personality that one would not know where to start.

Does one talk about him as a broadcaster or as a raconteur or as a comedian or as a mimic or as a man of deep religious convictions or as a man of incredible contradictions? He was all of these things and more.

I first heard of Vernon Corea, as many others too did, before I had ever met him face to face. In the early nineteen sixties Vernon was probably the most popular male voice heard over Radio Ceylon's English Commercial Service.

It was Vernon who compiled and presented that incredibly popular listener's request programme every Sunday afternoon, called 'To each his own' for over a decade. This was the programme that served as a channel through which popular American music particularly "Country and Western" songs poured into Sri Lanka and fashioned the musical tastes and values of a whole youth generation.

I actually met Vernon for the first time when I assumed duties as the Director General of the Ceylon Broadcasting Corporation in 1966.

Throughout my stay at Radio Ceylon Vernon worked very closely with the management and his loyalty and commitment to his responsibilities was never in doubt. Starting as an announcer and presenter he rose rapidly to exercise higher managerial responsibilities.

At any time, life at Radio Ceylon is turbulent for managers. The tension between artistes on the one hand, who instinctively want to be a law unto themselves and habitually resist discipline and on the other, managers who are bound to maintain a framework of good management, is always intense.

It was to Vernon's great credit that he served in both roles, as a professional broadcaster as well as, as a manager, without compromising either role.

Certain personality traits helped him to maintain this difficult balance. He had and extraordinary sense of humour and a capacity to see the funny side in every situation.

Whenever a situation threatened to boil over Vernon had the happy knack of deflating the tension with some funny comment which would make everyone laugh. In fact at one time one wondered whether he took anything so seriously as to be beyond joking.

In many respects Vernon represented a dying culture. In the best sense of the term he was essentially a Public School boy, a typical product of Royal College of the pre-56 vintage.

His sense of loyalty to his management and to his profession and his compassion and concern for those who worked under him were exemplary. He typified the moral qualities of his schooling, viz. integrity, loyalty and professional excellence.

There were certain things which he considered as simply 'not done' and which he was incapable of doing. He was incapable of disloyalty to the traditions of his school, of disloyalty to his superiors or of disloyalty towards his subordinates and it was the special quality of his personality that he managed to balance these contradictory impulses with consummate ease and humour.

When the culture of Sri Lanka as a whole and the culture of Radio Ceylon in particular changed dramatically post 1970, Vernon was rapidly reduced to the plight of a dinosaur, completely out of place and unable to survive in the harsh new environment.

So it was that from about 1973 Vernon started seeking new pastures abroad. I had myself moved to London by then and I recall Vernon wrote inquiring whether I would recommend him for a post in Radio Worldwide in England and sponsor his work permit which I did most readily. So it was that Vernon, Monica and their three children moved to England about 1975.

Vernon went on to distinguish himself at Radio Worldwide and within a few years was invited by the BBC to head their new, "Ethnic Minorities Unit" where he worked till retirement with great distinction.

No tribute to Vernon Corea can be complete without a reference to his religious convictions. The eldest son of the Rev. Ivan Corea and brother of Ernest Corea, who was one time Editor of the Daily News and later Ambassador to Washington, Vernon was a man of deep religious convictions.

It will be correct to say that in addressing whatever task that confronted him Vernon's first impulse was to turn to God. He seemed to look on every circumstance as, in some rationally unexplainable way, as God's inexorable will for him.

In a sense that was the source of his strength, the strength that enabled him to weather circumstances that would normally have crushed others. His faith in Jesus Christ was non-negotiable and indestructible.

Having said all this, if one were to do justice to Vernon's incredibly complex personality, one must also say that Vernon's life was also fraught with contradictions, as indeed life is with many of us.

However, Vernon did not flinch from those contradictions and it was the measure of his courage and of his convictions that he chose to live with them, even at the cost of the reproach of others, rather than run away and hide.

In a real sense Vernon's passing is also a reminder that the curtain is falling rapidly on an era. That era has long since been moved to the sidelines and is now being completely dismantled. Vernon was one of its few surviving representatives.

Websites remembering the pioneer broadcaster of Radio Ceylon:

www.vernoncorea.info

www.vernoncorea.com

DAILY NEWS COLOMBO SRI LANKA - 23rd September 2005

 

Newspaper articles on Vernon Corea