I thought you might enjoy this You Tube video and the write up about Wally who is considered the King Of Baila in SriLanka. I remember watching him in Matara, where I grew up as a child when Wally visited and performed on the streets with his fellow police officers.
Ogustus Martheneus Bastian (Wally Bastiansz)
The Godfather of Sinhala Baila
“Wally Bastiansz” was born on June 9, 1914 in Piyadigama, a small village about 2km north of the coast between Galle and Gintota. Wally was a singer-songwriter who developed the style of “Chorus Baila” in Sri Lanka during the 1940’s”
“There has always been some controversy over his name “Wally”. Although he was baptized Ogustus Martheneus, he was known amongst family and close relatives as either “Olie” or “Olington”. Young Ogustus was not very comfortable with his name and mostly went by his initials O.M. Bastiansz rather than Ogustus or Martheneus.”
“After serving as an officer in the traffic division of the Ceylon Police, Wally played in the police band during the 1940s. It is said that he had been granted special permission to attend musical events by then Prime Minister Sir John Kotelawala. He was instrumental in providing road traffic presentations conducted by the traffic police at all major cities across the country.”
“Wally also played the Banjo, Violin and the Spanish Guitar. Drawing from his orchestral roots, he transformed the tunes of standards like “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “Inky Pinky Parlez Vous” into classic baila songs. His music style was later followed by many other successful Baila singers such as Anton Jones, M.S. Fernando, Desmond De Silva, Saman De Silva.”
“His other popular songs include, Mathakai Amme, Nurse Nona, Hai Hooi Babi Archchi, Le Kiri Karala and Ratak Watinawa. It is a hidden fact that Nurse Nona was about his own sister Felicia Florence, who was a nurse in the 1940s.”
“Wally bade last farewell to his fans and the music world by leaving a lasting legacy on Chorus Baila, on the 16th January 1985.”
Name: Robin Jayasekera
Country of Residence: Canada
I run the www.wallybastiansz.com, and I am his nephew who grew up in the same house that Wally grew up in Piyadigama. Wally Bastiansz was never a student of Richmond College. That is mis-information. In his schooldays he moved to Colombo to sty with his eldest brother Bertram, and attended St Joseph’s Collage, Maradana.
Appreciate if you could please rectify.
Robin K. Jayasekera
Thanks, Robin for that clarification