Desmond Anaclitus Rajiva de Silva was born on the 13th of July 1944, at Matara, a southern coastal town of Sri Lanka. He is recognized today as being an iconic Singer/Entertainer in Sri Lanka and within the expat communities around the world. His powerful voice and fantastic range stirred the hearts of young and old alike.
Desmond came from a musical family as his mother & father were part of a family band. Evenings growing up were spent listening to his parents, aunts and uncles singing to the tunes of that era. Desmond was often coaxed to perform as well.
He started his musical career when he was 19 years old. He was the lead vocalist with the Fireflies and then went on to be part of the Jetliners, Spitfires; finally forming his own band called Desmond & The Clan whose popularity soared when they performed to sell out audiences at the Capricorn Night club in Colombo. The band was contracted to play in Katmandu where they were discovered by an Agent who offered them a contract to tour the Scandinavian region where they performed as a band for 7 years in the region. Desmond then embarked on his solo career which took him on tours around the world at the invitation of expats for a variety of community events.
Desmond’s popularity soared as a solo artist, and he undertook demanding schedules of overseas engagements at sold out events. He also formed his band “Desmond & The Impressions” based in Sydney and toured with his band in Australia, New Zealand & Indonesia.
Desmond more than made his mark in the music scene in Sri Lanka and globally. He was arguably Sri Lanka’s greatest Singer/Entertainer. His energy and exuberance for his craft set him apart from his peers and his talent to engage with his audience in his own imitable style won him fans across generations. From the 1960’s till his untimely death in January 2022, he commanded the stage and entertained his audience. He had a knack for “feeling” the energy & pulse of an audience and he entertained them as they expected.
He had been sent many videos and heard many stories from parents with young children who danced and sang along to his music. It always lifted his heart and brought a smile to his face. On and off the stage Desmond loved giving of his best to his fans. He was a mentor and relished in guiding budding musicians in their own musical careers or ambitions. He was well loved and respected by his peers in the music industry.
During Covid restrictions, Desmond & his wife Phyllis were able to enjoy quality time together and they loved being at home, enjoying their garden and spending time with their dogs Holly & Charlie. This time was also spent catching up with reading and quiet intimate dinners with family & friends. With the help and encouragement of family, Phyllis & Des set up a studio at home and Des was able to entertain his fans through virtual concerts and also to record and revive old favourites. His recording of the Bob Marley classic ‘Three Little Birds’ lifted the spirits of his fans around the world, especially those in Sri Lanka who were doing it tougher than others. Des wanted to encourage and inspire his peers and fans through his music. ‘Don’t Worry about a Thing, Cos Everything is Going to be Alright’, were the words Des used to instil hope during the unprecedented times.
As restrictions eased in May/June 2021 Desmond was lucky to be able to perform in Adelaide, Melbourne & Canberra.
Desmond was humbled to realise that his fans remained faithful, despite the period of enforced absence from the stage due to the restrictions. His phone ran hot from September 2021 with bookings that saw his 2022 schedule fill up with gigs Australia wide and globally to the end of October 2022.
His final performance was in Melbourne’s City venue for a Gala New Year’s Eve Event where he was his energetic and vibrant self as he entertained the capacity crowd that joined him in welcoming 2022.
Desmond’s untimely death on 9th January 2022 devastated his wife Phyllis, family and fans, leaving a void in their hearts and in their lives. Des has left a vast legacy of music that will keep his memory and music alive for years to come. He has an expansive body of work he was proud of and will always hope his fans will enjoy along with memories of his brand of entertainment.
Desmond’s wife Phyllis says that she once asked him why he didn’t do more than one encore, despite his audience chanting for more. He replied, “I like to leave the stage with my audience wanting more!” Des certainly achieved that when he exited this Life Stage so unexpectedly and untimely.
He has left his fans wanting more!
King of Baila
Undisputedly crowned the King of Baila by his adoring fans across the globe, Desmond has had bailas composed specifically for him and has recorded over 800 bailas that have earned him the title of King of Baila. Desmond was given permission by Wally Bastian to sing the bailas that were specifically composed by Wally Bastian himself and other collaborators.
With approval from Desmond Mahesh Denipitiya rearranged the tunes of Yanna Rata Watey, YAMANG Bando and Sumihiri Paane which gave richness and new life to the 3 tunes in particular and Sumihiri Paane became a cult song which had Desmond engaging with the audience in his own Imitable style.
Every performance by Desmond whether it be concerts or dinner dances would always include and conclude with these favourites. Of course Desmond’s signature and closing tune was the all time favourite “Chuda Manike”.
Desmond De Silva Tribal Community
Heroes are Remembered. Legends Never Die!
Desmond De Silva Tribal Community has been created to share photos and stories on how Desmond touched lives through his music, his kindness and love of life.
Every year starting 13 th July this year, we encourage everyone to celebrate his birthday and life with family & friends.
Whether it be with a party, a quiet dinner, a community event or a street party…. let’s celebrate his life and all he meant to us.
You are encouraged to listen and dance to his music, take photos and post them on the dedicated Desmond De Silva fb page. Photos & stories on how Desmond touched your life will also be linked to Desmond’s website.
This is the place where Desmond’s friends & fans can come together to celebrate his life, his music and help to keep his memory & music alive.
Desmond De Silva Tribe is being created to commemorate his birthday to keep his memory and music alive.
Desmond touched many lives through his music. From 3 yr olds who danced or were coaxed to eat to his music to 95 yr olds who sat reminiscing as they listened to his music… young and old found their spirits uplifted listening to his music. His untimely death was mourned not only because he was a great Singer/Entertainer but more for the very approachable, sincere and humble man that he was to all his family, friends & fans.
Desmond De Silva Tribal Community will bring all fans together to celebrate Desmond’ first birthday since his death on 13 th July 2022. All family, friends and fans across the globe will be invited to celebrate his life & his music and any memories of how he has touched lives and share photos and messages on the dedicated fb page which has been created under “ Desmond De Silva Tribal Community celebrates his life”.
Desmond De Silva logo on side of cap and T shirt back of neck
T shirts / Caps designs
Caps x 2 Designs
B/W Free size
Tshirts in B/W
At age 21 Desmond married Deanna De Zilwa and they had 3 children named Steve, Sean & Jacqueline. His son Steve followed in his footsteps and became a Singer/Entertainer and was Sri Lanka’s answer to Michael Jackson. His career in music ended when he passed away from cancer. His daughter Megan was 3 yrs old at the time of his passing.
Desmond was married to Lilamani Wijeratne.
After a long term relationship Desmond married Phyllis on 16th August 2014. They enjoyed a loving marriage and worked as a team as his career blossomed until his untimely death on 9th January 2022.
Desmond De Silva's Song List
He has had a string of baila hits including: ‘Polkatu Hande,’ ‘ Yaman Bando (Wally Bastiansz),’ ‘Chuda Manike,’ ‘Mamma No,’ ‘Miss Sri Lanka,’ ‘Hai Hui baby Achchi (Wally Bastiansz),’ ‘Rajasangabo’ ‘Komali Pane,’ as well as popular recordings of anonymous baila songs.