Sunil Perera, Sri Lanka’s music legend, dies at 68

Sunil Perera, one of the stalwarts of Sri Lanka’s baila genre, breathed his last on Monday at the age of 68, according to his family.

Sunil – who is believed to have died of Covid-related complications – wrote and performed songs with catchy tunes and clever lyrics along side his band The Gypsies. His songs have pulled people on to dance floors at weddings and parties for decades.

Perera’s song Uncle Johnson from 1987 related a hilarious tale of a ruined wedding anniversary party, while Signore (2001) focused on the laments of a defeated politician berating his ungrateful voters.

Sunil Perera was born in 1952 and was one of 10 children. His father, an ex-soldier, was the original founder of The Gypsies. Sunil later joined along with his brothers, eventually taking over. Together, they released hit after hit, becoming Sri Lanka’s biggest music franchise.