Way Back Then: The Zambesis of St. Aloysius and Galle

Rex Perera

Over sixty years ago, in 1960, a few Aloysians gathered together to form a musical group. It was organized by the highly talented Neville Wickremaratne hailing from a musical family. The teaming up of two brothers Mervyn and Rex Perera initiated this group into the work of  catering for parties of close friends. At that time the Band was known as the Rhythm Ramblers. When the college carnival (Golden Showers) started, a few more Aloysians joined the group. They were Ralph Gunathileke (box guitar) and Leon Cramer and Royston Watts, two Coormanites, on clarinet.

Seated: Joseph Orloff and Neville Wickremaratne. Standing: Leon Cramer, Ralph Gunathileke, Mervyn Perera, Rex Perera, Royston Watts, Anton Gunathileke

They were a hit at the carnival shows and they received their inspiration from the late Fr. De Burra. The sleepy town of Galle had not much of a night life, but the few shows and parties were catered for by “The Zambesies” – which was the former Rhythm Ramblers. The old instruments like Box Guitars, Bongo Drums, Percussion and Skiffle Base were replaced with electric guitars, set of drums and more members including male and female vocalists. More bands emerged with the arrival of the tourist hotels. The Zambesies did not lose their touch till the dawn of the year 2000. The demise of Neville and the migration of a few members impeded progress and by 2010 the band ceased to accept bookings.


THOUGHTS from an old …..really old …. Aloysian:

It would be of some interest to have basic details about the subsequent life’s journeys of this inspirational group.  As an aside, I am also interested in the family name “Watts.” It is the first time I have come across that name. So I would be interested in the lineage history of its entry into the island named “Ceylon.” …. Michael Roberts

LATE Postscript …. A Photo from LK Hettiaracchi  … with Royston Watts at extreme right front row


Filed under art & allure bewitching, cultural transmission, education, ethnicity, heritage, historical interpretation, landscape wondrous, life stories, patriotism, performance, sri lankan society, unusual people

3 responses to “Way Back Then: The Zambesis of St. Aloysius and Galle

  1. Anton Perera

    Royston Watts is in Ontario, Canada. He had a band in the early 80’s called “Tropical Breeze” in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

  2. Edward Frugtniet

    I was in Boarding School with Royston & Roger his brother – would love to know if they are still around. Edward Darrell Frugtniet {Ganja}

  3. Thank you Brenda for your sharing I have been overwhelmed for such a long long time with my clutter. I find it difficult to let go of stuff as I am such a sentimental person and having shifted countries I find it even more difficult , it is like I am holding onto my life. I have also lost me baby daughter and so I haven’thad the courage to let go of her things. Your sharing has told me to ask God to help me which I never even thought of before as nobody seems to want to share my burden. I have known for a long time that something needs to change. I will take heed of your steps and with the help of our Lord try again. Thank you so much for sharing and thanks to God for putting this in my path to read. Blessings Crystal

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