The engaging drummer from Chhayanaut Baouls
The Galle Music Festival is happening today. If you have the ability, head down to check the performances today starting at 5. I went briefly last night and it was really good. Saw some lovely stick dancers from Jaffna, a great drummery band from Bangladesh and Sri Lankans own Kaffers, singers and dancers of African descent. All very good. Tonight is similar, plus Bathiya and Santush, who are pop but still personal favs of mine.
This group, Vasanthan Koothu, from the Jaffna peninsula play what sounds (to me) like traditional temple instruments accompanied by rhythmic stick tapping. It’s quite entertaining to watch, especially as the drummers vary tempos. There’s something about good traditional music that hits the twitch level of any local audience, including me. People were clapping and moving along.
The Bangladeshi band Chhayanaut Baouls was really entertaining. Their drummer was as much a dancer as anything else, wearing anklets and positively strutting around stage. The singer also got into it, they were able to really engage with and entertain the crowd, which began to respond even more.
At every Sri Lankan party, and I’ve said this before, there is one (usually drunken) uncle that has to dance – inappropriately, vigorously, and publicly. It can be a rave, it can be a wedding, it can be a music festival, there will be that one uncle, right in front of the stage. Here he is:
And there he goes:
These are Sri Lanka’s hometown favorites. Kaffers are the descendants of Africans living in Sri Lanka. Please see more on their culture in this video by Kannan here. I know them because I’ve seen them perform, and they’re amazing to watch. It is like being at a really amazing village party, the music and dance are that honest and immediate. They’re wearing party dresses and sarongs and just sing and dance their hearts out. Always a pleasure.
The music is deeply moving, the base elements of baila. At this point the crowd couldn’t not dance.
At this point my friend from America had to puke (bad food somewhere) and the kid was getting annoying so we bounced. I sadly missed the Raghu Dixit performance but I heard (via Twitter) that it was great.
As a note, I recommend the Expressway for all Galle transport. They’re running private buses now and you can knock up anytime near the hours 7 to 7PM and catch one. Took the regular bus back along the Galle Road and it SUCKED. Smells like a drunk tank, makes you wait, stops pointlessly for tea, and – worst of all – blasts really bad music really loud, all night. After the GLM, this experience was a buzzsaw to the brain. But check out the GLM, it’s on tonight, and it’s great.