Mar 19 2014. view 2088
It’s a Saturday evening at the Galle Fort, and people are thronging to get inside the Moon Bastion, anxious to get a glimpse of the musicians performing on stage. Come late evening, the crowds will have increased, and the incredible lineup of musicians is what makes the festival exciting. Folk music, dance acts, oriental music and classical music are on the cards, and after having watched some of these artistes perform at the Jaffna Music Festival (sister event of the Galle Music Festival) last year, I can’t wait to watch them perform again. I grab my friends and walk over in front of the main performing stage to secure a spot on the mats placed for festival goers to sit and enjoy the music.
The Galle Music Festival is implemented by Rikskonsertene (Concerts Norway) and the SevaLanka Foundation. The artistic direction for the festival was provided by Aru Sri Art Theatre.
Artistes at the festival
Perspectives of Freedom: A classical fusion group, theirs is considered to be one of the best soothing musical elements observed in the South Asian region. The group features eleven musicians namely Kolitha Bhanu Dissanayake, V. Jambunadan, Ravibandhu Vidyapathi Gayanath Dahanayake, M.G. Darshana Tharanga, Chamila Sangeeth, Vajira Gomez, Kumara Liyanawaththe, Isuru Kondasinghe, K. Nalaka Sajee Jayasinghe and Ashvin Bhanu.
Nondi Nadagam: This is one of the oldest plays amongst the Tamil community in Sri Lanka and performed by Thenmodikoothu hailing from Batticaloa. The performance includes melodious songs and graceful dance movements and is produced by the Department of Music, Swami Vipulanandha Institute of Aesthetic Studies of the Eastern University of Sri Lanka, and assisted by the Theatre Lab, Batticaloa.
Thriloka: Thriloka is a fusion band formed in 2005, and their music is influenced by traditional Sri Lankan music, psychedelic and progressive rock, with an emphasis on improvisation. Their performance at GMF 2014 was nothing short of amazing, as always.
Oriental Music Orchestra: This is Sri Lanka’s first multi-ethnic oriental music orchestra, showcasing ethnic and regional musical traditions in Sri Lanka.
Teng Sing: The performances by Teng Sing were by far some of the most captivating, and interesting to watch with their synchronized movements in dance. Teng Sing is an international youth program which engages teenagers in creative performing arts. They were founded in Norway in 1968.
Sokari: This happens to be one of the most traditional dance performances in Sri Lanka, and performed as a ritual offering to Goddess Pattini. The Sokari was performed by a group from Kalundewa, Dambulla. Sokari is usually performed in Kamatha, a threshing floor and the performance is unique to the Kandy area.
Shironamhin: One of Bangladesh’s most popular bands, Shironamhin started their journey by performing in streets of Dhaka. They have released three albums and have appeared in five mixed albums. This was their first time performing in Sri Lanka, and they expressed great satisfaction in promoting musical solidarity between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
Tony Hassan & Orchestra: “It’s lovely to have ethnic diversity at this music festival. It is an amalgamation of cultures and different than the usual. I will be performing songs in Malay along with my daughter Zemmira,” explained Tony Hassan. Hassan has performed in Sri Lanka for the past fifty years and he started his career in music at the mere age of twelve, and since then he has performed in numerous concerts locally and overseas.
Sabreen Association: A favourite among dedicated festival goers from past Jaffna and Galle Music Festivals, this is the fourth consecutive year performing in Sri Lanka for Sabreen Association. “You don’t always get to perform inside a fort next to the sea,” quipped their female vocalist while speaking to Daily Mirror Life.
Thenmodi Koothu: A drama usually performed during Hindu ceremonies such as Mahasivarathri and Navarathri, it is a cultural affair that tells a story of how the truth always wins.
Roda Viva: These young musicians from Rio de Janeiro have one main focus and that is to revive the ‘samba’ and ‘choro’, which are traditional music genres in Brazil. Their most noteworthy performance at GMF was a rendition of Mas que Nada, an all time favourite.
Naadro: Theirs is a stunning electrifying rhythm, and the group uses traditional percussion instruments from Sri Lanka and some from other cultures. They performed twice at GMF, once on their own and second with nATANDA.
nATANDA: They are a modern dance company based in Colombo and founded as a non-profit organization by Kapila Palihawadana. The dancers are trained in modern and traditional dance.
Donn Bhat and Passenger Revelator: “We are very excited to be performing in Colombo!” expressed the drummer. They are an upcoming band, that started performing in India in 2013. Their music varies from rock, electro, psychedelic, fusion, folk and electronic.
Marians: An incredibly popular local band which have been performing in Sri Lanka since 1988. Theirs is a nine member band led by Nalin Perera, and they hail from Chilaw.
Text and pics by Sarah Kellapatha