Hettiarachchige Reginald Jothipala (February 12, 1936 – July 7, 1987) was a prolific playback singer in the Sinhala cinema. Jothipala rendered his voice to all classes of actors ranging from Eddie Jayamanne, Ananda Jayaratne, Gamini Fonseka, Vijaya Kumaratunga, Sanath Gunathilaka, Ravindra Randeniya and several others of young generation stars like Damith Fonseka, Lal Weerasinghe and other newcomers.
Jothipala was born the first child of a middle-class family from Southern Sri Lanka. He attended St. Lawrence College in Maradana and St. John’s College in Dematagoda. Jothipala would visit tea kiosks during this period to hear music as his family didn't own a radio.
Jothipala made his debut as a playback singer on Cyril P. Abeyratne's Surathalee singing, "Siriyame Sara," in 1956.Prior to this he had recorded a song for the late Sirisena Wimalaweera's Podi Putha. This song didn't make the final cut, as the Indian film composer on the film didn't consider Jothipala's voice good enough.
Jothi has said that he contemplated taking his life when he went with his friends to watch Podi Putha and found out that his song was not included. Later when Surathalee producer Jabir A. Cader wanted to hear one of his songs to consider him for the film, Jothipala almost passed on the offer as he did not possess enough money to cut a record. He was helped out by veteran musician Stanley Omar who financed him for the sum of 35 rupees – a large amount at the time. Jothipala's song on the film, "Siriyame Sara," still remains popular in Sri Lanka. He sang the popular number under the direction of T.R. Papa at Wahini Studio in India.
Jothipala has worked with many reputed directors of Sri Lanka. In the early stages of his prolific career, Jothipala got the chance to work with prolific film maker,Lester James Peris on the movie Sandeshaya. Jothipala sang the song "Puruthugeesikara" for the film, which was composed by the legendary Sunil Santha and written by veteran lyricist Arisen Ahubudu.
Jothipala was the undisputed choice in films that were made in the late sixties and through the seventies, the period during which he also began to act. Though Jothi was criticized for singing to the tunes of popular Hindi songs he also sang under the batons of Pandit W.D. Amaradewa, P.V. Nandasiri, Premasiri Kehmadasa, Sarath Dassanayake Sarath De Alwis & Stanly Peris.
He sang in hundreds of films including popular hits like Kasthuri Suwanda, Thushara, Sweeep Ticket, Hitha Honda Minihek, Kawuda Raja, Hondata Hondai, Wasana, Sangeetha and others. The award-winning singer also played some memorable roles in films including Ethulweema Thahanam, Sudu Sandey Kalu Wala, Sulalitha Sobani, Sujeewa, Sureeka, Sukiri Kella, Abirahasa, Bonikka, Shanthi and his own production Sumithuro.
In the music scene, no musical show was complete without Jothi in the seventies and eighties. Jothipala passed away on the 7th of July 1987.
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