The music composer of the movies ‘Dheewarayo’, ‘Deviyani Oba Koheda’ and ‘Ra Manamalee’, was a rare talent, a giant in the field of music composition and direction, a violinist who could play all forms and genres of music: a legend of his time.
Known as ‘Rocksamy master’ to many, ‘Rock Aiyya’ to others and ‘Rocky’ to close friends and family, the violin prodigy and musician M.K. Rocksamy who created melodies with consistent creativity and artistic integrity was born on the 13th of September 1932. His parents who were immigrants from South India inspired Rock Christy Samy to grow a fondness towards music. His mother was a professional violinist and an avid serpina player while his father possessed wide musical knowledge. According to his wife Indrani, he even created his stage name M.K. Rocksamy by combining the first letters of his parents’ names (Maria and Kolande).
At a tender age Rocksamy mastered the violin, serpina and the table and by the age of seventeen he left school to join the orchestra of the then Radio Ceylon. Initially he was a saxophonist and was responsible for introducing the saxophone to the Sinhala Oriental Music Orchestra at SLBC. Later he was introduced to the renowned musician R.A. Chandrasena who ultimately requested Rocksamy to play violin to the song “Dhasha Bhala Dharee Bhudu Raju Perakala”.
Around this time, Rocksamy met an individual who would eventually turn his life around and would go onto introduce him to the best musicians of the time. He was none other than Ramaiyya Muttusamy, also known as R. Muttusamy. It was under Muttusamy’s guidance, Rocky became one of the very best musicians in Muttusany’s orchestra at Nayagam Film Studios Kandana.
While continuing as a violinist, Rocksamy tested the waters of composing music for both Sinhala and Tamil films. A poignant composer B. S. Perera suddenly passed away while leaving a half-composed melody which was handed over to Rocksamy to complete. It was this song that paved the way for society to recognize the talented composer hidden behind the gifted violinist.
The Government Film Unit, Ceylon Studios, SPM Studios, the Vijaya Studio and Sarasavi Studio all became second homes as recordings of the day, mostly single track went on through the day and night.
Rocksamy’s interactions with Sooriya began in 1972 when he became a member of Sooriya Pop Orchestra since it’s origin. The Orchestra was arranged and conducted by Claude Fernando for the first part and Winston Jayawardene for the latter part, including Clem Croner, Latiff Miskin, Ralph, Tom & Micky Menezes, Rocksamy, Duncan Clyde, Patrick Denepitiya, Gazil Amit and Sarath Fernando.
He also directed music for Sooriya EP CHB 043 by A.E. Manoharan in 1975 and EP CHB 050 by Priya Suriyasena in 1976. He directed music and was a part of the Orchestra for the Sooriya cassette (GDNU 42) titled ‘Kaffringa Instrumental Traditional Style’.
On 24th November 1974, he married Indrani S. De Elayes whom he met at the audition for ‘ath wel gayanaya’ for the film ‘Sekaya’.
Rocksamy was the first to compose an original melody for both a Sinhalese and a Hindi song in Sri Lanka. For the movie Siril Malli, Ravilal Wimaladharma wrote “Eka Khali Ki” (sung by Milton Mallawarachchi) and the Sinhala translation “Mal Kakuli Gomari Manali” (sung by H.R. Jothipala) while the tune and the music was composed by Rocksamy.
When one is in love, when one feels despondent, when one feels lost or even confused, Rocksamy’s tunes comes to mind as he has composed heart touching melodies that can be applicable to every aspect in life. Songs such as “Obage Ruwa Magemai”, “Sathuta Shoke Jaya Paraje”, “Jeewana Wila Mada”, “Minisamai Lowa Dewiyan Wanne”, “Madhu Mala Lesa” are some of his evergreen compositions.
Some of Rocksamy’s famous film compositions were for ‘Ran Rasa’, ‘Dheewarayo’, ‘Haaralakshaya’, ‘Deviyane Oba Koida’, ‘Ra Manamalee’, ‘Chandalee’, ‘Maha-Ra Hamuwu Stree’, ‘Sansara’, ‘Sri Pathula’, ‘Mage Amma’, ‘Ratharan Kanda’, ‘Rathathin Ratham Maniyar Veedu’, ‘Naan Ungul Tholan’ to name a few.
Rocksamy shared his versatility at Jazz Festivals, Oriental shows and even at Rock concerts where he performed alongside guitarist Kumar Navaratnam.
Rocksamy passed away on the 30th of November 1988 due to an illness, marking a great loss for the film music. At the time he had contributed his violin music to nearly 500 out of the 650 films that were produced during his lifetime.