From the Album “Especially For You” – A Tribute to the Country Artists
Proudly presented by eLanka
Put front cover, back cover and his photo
About Desmond Kelly
Desmond Kelly is a Ceylonese musician who has entertained in Sri Lanka and in Australia. He was born in Colombo in 1936.
Kelly was one of a group of musicians who was discovered by Radio Ceylon, now the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation. Radio Ceylon gave him a platform for his songs and legendary announcers Vernon Corea and Christopher Greet played his compositions on their music programs – Radio Ceylon made him into a household name – not only in Sri Lanka but also in the Indian sub-continent. His pop hit ‘Dream World’ was in the hit parades in both Ceylon and India. He has also been featured in the top entertainment column, EMCEE, published in the Ceylon Daily News in the 1960s.
Des Kelly is best known for such pop hits such as ‘Dream World’ ‘Cha Cha Baby’ and ‘The Reason Being.’ He migrated with his family to Melbourne, Australia in 1962 where he made a name for himself as a talented entertainer. Kelly also took to acting and appeared on TV shows such as Homicide and Hunter for Crawford Productions and as a solo entertainer on some of the top television shows in Australia, such as In Melbourne Tonight, the Delo & Daly show and Reg Lindsay’s Country Hour which was produced in Adelaide, Australia. He is also known for a road safety song in Australia titled ‘It’s You.’
He has collaborated with fellow Australian musician Robin Foenander on a range of pop songs. Des Kelly has also released CDs which include the popular Sri Lankan baila music and calypso songs.Des Kelly is now semi-retired although he is still in demand in Melbourne as an entertainer.
DES KELLY, SRI LANKA’S QUINTESSENTIAL ENTERTAINERBY JOE VAN LANGENBERG
Des Kelly needs no introduction. He has been a dominant force in Sri Lanka’s music industry; a linchpin if you like, for seven decades or thereabouts, a quintessential entertainer who has graced many a stage with elegance & professionalism over the years. Many older music lovers are bound to remember Des being respectfully & fondly referred to as ”Mr Music” ,in light of him having enthralled hundreds, if not thousands of dedicated music enthusiasts with his mesmerizing voice, a fragrant pot-pourri of smoothness & power, whenever the need for him to pump up the volume arose.
Des made his initial foray into the competitive world of music from a relatively young age The urge to pursue success in his chosen field, was far too powerful to subdue. Deep within, a burning fire took hold, one he wished to transform into a raging inferno. And that he did, when the opportunity he was looking forward to with eager anticipation, presented itself in all its crowning glory. Enter Mr Gulliver of Showbiz & Entertainment, the incomparable Donovan Andree, a gentleman largely responsible for helping aspiring artistes with untapped potential, to realize their cherished dreams & eventually achieve their prestigious milestones.
Donovan was one who could spot talent in a heartbeat. He possessed the valuable know-how, that was synonymous with experience. At this point in time, when performers of the calibre of vivacious Bill Forbes, who later sought greener pastures in England, carving out a niche for himself with the pulsating, toe-tapping hit ”Acha England”, charismatic Clifford Foenader who teamed up with ”The fabulous Echoes”, going great guns overseas with conspicuous hits vis-a-vis ”Saturday night”, ”Little bit of soap” & ”I know” , were household names, the bar was set pretty high. It needs to be pointed out that the ”Three Clubs”, owned exclusively by the Great Man Mr Andree, & rightly regarded as the Mecca of wannabe musicians, also served as a launching pad for their future success.
Des, who by now was fast gaining recognition for his musical prowess, caught the eagle eye of Donovan, who wasted no time in embracing young & personable Des, a performer with oodles of potential, to his bosom. And that call was the wisest one Donovan ever made. Thereafter, his business started to boom, with droves of customers breezing into the venue, to catch a glimpse & listen to this music phenomenon belting out catchy bailas, while crooning romantic ballads, both of which capitvated the young, young at heart, not forgetting the pretty damsels who arrived in droves, to feast their eyes on this much-talked about heart-throb. It’s pertinent to emphasize the fact, that the names of artistes stipulated above, excelled in foreign climes. Nonetheless, Des had the unique distinction & can be justifiably proud that he became a force to be reckoned with, in Our Paradise Isle, Sri Lanka, whom he happens to be a patriot of.
”Dreamworld”was & still remains the most priceless & glittering jewel in Des’ music crown; comprising sentimental, yet uplifting lyrics, which showcase his sensitive side, thus providing a crystal-clear insight into his personality & sterling qualities. Hundreds of originals have followed, most noteworthy amongst them been ”Angels in disguise”, ”I’ve got a right to dream”, ”It’s too late for regrets”, ”Teach me to love you”, ”The Ned Kelly blues” & ”Cha Cha Baby”. The Elder Statesman of Sri Lanka’s music industry, has mentored numerous performers . Many have cut their musical teeth under his tutelage.
He has collaborated with the best & the fairest, earning the ungrudging admiration & respect from stalwarts such as baila exponent Desmond de Silva, ex-Jetliners dynamo Conrad de Silva & the effervescent Alston Koch. In addition to being an accomplished vocalist, Des is a multi-instrumentalist, who has perfected the technique of sound balancing, into a scientific art form. In recent times however, he has being finding it extremely difficult to perform on stage, due to mobility constraints. And that’s a matter for great regret.
Consequently, he has reluctantly decided to relinquish his pro-active status, thus remaining on the backburner, but working behind the scenes, until his ongoing efforts reach fruition. Mr Music has so much more to offer in the way of know-how. Des Kelly, one of Sri Lanka’s noblest sons, exits the stage on his own terms & with his head held high. He did it his way. No fuss, no mess & no regrets.
Thanks for the treasured memories Des. You have perfumed our lives. Rest assured, such memories will be ingrained into our collective psyche ad infinitum. We wish you the very best.