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Singer Coco Lee dies



Singer Coco Lee, who enjoyed pop stardom in Asia in the 1990s and 2000s, has died at the age of 48.

Born in Hong Kong, Lee moved to the US as a child and released albums in Mandarin and English.

She also voiced the lead character in the Mandarin version of Disney’s hit film Mulan, and performed a song from the soundtrack of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon at the 2001 Oscars.

Her sisters said she had been in a coma since a suicide attempt at the weekend.

Lee had been suffering from depression for a few years, older sisters Carol and Nancy wrote in a Facebook post.

She tried to take her own life at home on Sunday and was taken to hospital, where she died on Wednesday, they wrote.

Lee broke into the Mandopop scene in 1994 with two Mandarin albums. Within the next year, she released an English-language album as well as a third Mandarin album.

“Not only did she bring us joy with her songs and dances in the past 29 years, she also worked hard to break new ground for Chinese singers in the international music scene and has been doing her utmost to shine for the Chinese,” Lee’s sisters wrote.

She also sang the Mandarin version of the Mulan theme song, Reflection; while her song Before I Fall in Love is on the soundtrack to the 1999 Hollywood film Runaway Bride, starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere.

Her performances included a Michael Jackson & Friends benefit concert in South Korea in 1999, and she was a judge on TV talent shows including Chinese Idol.

This past New Year’s Eve, Lee said in an Instagram post that she had “faced major life changing hurdles”, and described 2022 as an “incredibly difficult year”.

Her latest single Tragic was released on 14 February this year.

In March, she said on Facebook that she had undergone pelvic and thigh surgery after triggering an old leg injury during dance practice late last year.

In 2011, Lee married Bruce Rockowitz, former chief executive officer of Hong Kong-based supply chain giant Li & Fung. They have two daughters from his previous marriage.

Rumours that they had split started to surface about three years ago, but Lee never addressed them.

On Wednesday, Lee’s sisters wrote: “In addition to remembering Coco, I hope that you will share her trademark bright smile, honesty and kindness with everyone around you, and continue Coco’s wish that all those around her will feel her love and joy.”

(BBC News)


Court restrains Senaka Batagoda from singing 7 songs




The Colombo Commercial High Court yesterday issued an Enjoining Order restraining popular singer Senaka Batagoda from singing seven popular songs including “Api Kavuruda” and “Api Senasille”.

The order was issued by Colombo Commercial High Court Judge Priyantha Fernando after considering a complaint filed under the Intellectual Property Act by musician Janath Kulathilake who was the combined lyrics, melody and music compositor of those seven songs sung by Senaka Batagoda.

The Colombo High Court Judge also censured the giving of those songs to other parties without written permission of the plaintiff.

The seven songs which was restrained under the enjoining order are “Api Kavuruda”, “Api Senasille”, “Alu Yata Gini”, “Rastha”, “Heena Walata Panak Thiyenawa”, “Senasuma” and “Hodama de”.

The plaintiff informed court that the intellectual property right related to these songs is a right that cannot be violated by anyone and singer Senaka Batagoda had violated the intellectual property rights of the plaintiff.

Considering these facts, an Enjoining Order was issued against singer Senaka Batagoda restraining him from singing seven songs by the Colombo Commercial High Court.

The case was filed by musician Janath Kulathilake alleging that singer Senaka Batagoda has violated his intellectual property right and copyright by not giving the economic benefits due to him. The plaintiff also seeks Rs.100 Mn compensation for the damage committed by the accused.Attorneys Thilini Hewawitharana and Sandun Senadhipathi appeared for the plaintiff.


(This story, originally published by has not been edited by SLM staff)

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President instructs to reopen National Art Gallery before year’s end




President Ranil Wickremesinghe, during an inspection tour yesterday (26), visited the John de Silva Memorial Theatre and the long-delayed National Art Gallery. Despite construction commencing in 2011, both projects remain incomplete. 

President Wickremesinghe instructed officials to expedite the opening of the National Art Gallery before the year’s end, emphasizing the need for consensus among artists and architects. He also pledged government support for financial allocations. Additionally, he highlighted the demand for high-standard, affordable theatres in Colombo, questioning if such facilities could be provided following the completion of the John de Silva Theatre.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe stressed the importance of consulting dramatists before making final decisions on construction and maintenance projects. He directed the Ministry Secretary to explore options for reviving the Lumbini Theatre and the Nawa Rangahala to support the theatre and also instructed the Ministry Secretary to take steps to construct a drama theatre in Colombo’s Sudarshi Premises.

Emphasizing the need to establish a national cultural zone encompassing the Nelum Pokuna, Kalabhavana, John de Silva Memorial Theatre, Museum, and related areas, the President instructed the Ministry of Cultural Affairs to prepare a comprehensive report on this initiative. Additionally, he urged officials to enhance Sri Lanka’s museum system to international standard and tasked them with identifying a suitable country for mentorship in this regard.

Secretary of the Ministry of  Buddha Sasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs Somaratne Vidanapathirana, Additional Secretary Thilak Hettiarachchi, Director General of the Department of Cultural Affairs Yasintha Gunawardena, the team of architects from the University of Moratuwa who designed these buildings and the Navy officers who are in charge of the National Art Gallery renovations joined this event.

Prof. Praneeth Abhayasundara, Prof. Chandragupta Thenuwara, Parakrama Niriella, Mohamed Safeer and Saman Athavudahetti also spoke on behalf of the artists.

(President’s Media Division)

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Windy Goonatillake wins award for ’Ayyo Sami’




Windy Goonatillake has won the award for the Best Sensational Song of the Year – 2023 at the 16th Edison Awards held in Chennai, South India.

She received the award for the Sri Lankan Tamil song “Aiyo Sami.

She was joined by her husband – Sanuka Wickramasinghe who was the music producer of the song and Pothuvil Asmin who wrote the lyrics.

Following the ceremony, they arrived at the Katunayake International Airport last night.

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