Avrudhu at Trans Asia

Avurudhu at the Trans Asia Hotel was celebrated in grand style at the auspicious time of 6:52 p.m. on Sunday April 13. The hearth was lit in the lobby, and most of the resident guests both local and foreign participated in the ceremony that followed thereafter. To the blowing of the conch shell and beating of the Kandyan drums, the guests together with Sri Jayana – master of traditional dance forms of Sri Lanka and General Manager Neroy Marso lit the oil lamp amidst the large gathering who had assembled in the hotel’s lobby after which a table laden with kiribath, accompaniments, fruit and sweetmeat were enjoyed by all.


A helping hand...

Sajith Premadasa, MP for Hambantota District and Chairman of the Janasuwaya Development Foundation, has initiated many development projects to upgrade and enhance infrastructure and livelihoods in Hambantota District.
The latest project to be implemented in this regard is the provision of savings books to children from low income households in the Hambantota District in order to improve the savings habit of low income families.

The picture illustrates the provision of such savings books and other school equipment to 390 children from the Middeniya zone of Katuwana division of Hambantota District by Premadasa at a cost of Rs. 500,000 sponsored by well-wishers and donors from the UK.


‘Paradise in Tears – Journeying through History and Conflict’

A photographic expedition and virtual tour from British colonial times through social, political and conflict history into the 20th Century

The evening of April 2 marked the inauguration of the photographic exhibition ‘Paradise in Tears – A Journey through History and Conflict’ and the launch of the Sahajeevana Centre for Co-existence website, by the Foundation for Co-Existence (FCE).

The first segment of the event was an exhibition of a unique collection of over 470 pictures by Victor Ivan, beginning in 1815 during the British Colonial period. The photographs retrace the history of Sri Lanka’s Independence, and record some of the episodic events which have woven through our social and political movements during the 60 years of independence.

The exhibition was an opportunity to look back at the past by exploring the important events which have shaped the history of the country, and was the start of something that is hoped will grow much larger. FCE believes that it is through an understanding of the past, and a preservation of those memories, that we can have a positive impact on the future. This venture was possible through the patronage of the USAID.

The website, launched simultaneously with the exhibition, enabled guests to take a virtual tour of the Sahajeevana Centre, visit its exhibitions, use the library resources as well as purchase peace relation publications.

The site features a ‘Wall of Peace’ to make pledges, interactive games, and a peace education section for students. The website also contains a peace forum for all visitors of the site who could contribute their own content – including photos, text, videos and audio files. This endeavour was realised through the support of the Royal Norwegian Embassy.

The unending disharmony between communities, in addition to the volatility of the peace process, was a stimulus to create the Sahajeevana Centre, which incorporates the values of co-existence and peace building. The chief target groups for the centre are the youth and school children, who are often unaware of the history of the conflict and efforts at reconciliation. The aim is to initiate a centre that can be accessed by anyone at any time, whether in Sri Lanka or abroad.

The ultimate task is to carry the message of co-existence as achievable and interpretable by all, irrespective of cast or creed. In future, FCE plans to take elements of the permanent photographic exhibitions to the districts through the creation of a mobile, multifunctional venue for exhibitions, screenings, and interactive sessions using multimedia materials, workshops, library, and peace education initiatives.

The aim of the exhibition was to create awareness on the 200 years between the gradual movements towards independence, and the overdrawn struggle for sustainable peace. The fervent wish of the FCE and the organisers was the united acceptance of the lessons learnt through this historical journey, and the eventual renaissance of a paradise that weeps no longer.

For further information and for viewings, please contact the Sahajeevana Centre at 37/35, Buller’s Lane, Colombo 07 on 5755266, or e-mail your queries to info@sahajeevana.org. To make pledges and visit the virtual centre, log on to www.sahajeevana.org.


American soul and hip hop artistes tour Sri Lanka

The American Embassy in Colombo and Jazz at Lincoln Center, present American soul and hip hop artistes The Maya Azucena Band at two great shows titled ‘The Rhythm Road’, in Sri Lanka. Performance dates are Monday, April 28th at 6:00pm, at the Galle Town Hall in Galle, and Wednesday, April 30th at 6:30pm, at the New Town Hall in Colombo 7. Entrance to both shows is totally free! Passes for the Colombo show can be picked up at the American Center, 44 Galle Rd, Colombo 3 or at the performance, on a First Come, First Served basis. For more information contact, The American Center on 249-8100.

With musical influences ranging from Earth Wind and Fire to Ella Fitzgerald, the MAYA AZUCENA band bridges the genres of soul, hip-hop, world and funk music. Through their ‘raw soul’ sound and progressive lyrics, the band seeks to uplift communities worldwide. Best known for riveting tracks and spirited live performances, Azucena and her band recently released their album, Junkyard Jewel, to wide acclaim.

The Rhythm Road: American Music Abroad program me is a partnership between Jazz at Lincoln Center (JALC) and the U.S. Department of State. The programme is designed to foster cultural exchange with audiences worldwide. This season, 6 jazz quartets and 4 urban music ensembles will tour regions, such as Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. International activities include public concerts, master classes, lecture-recitals, workshops, jam sessions, media outreach, and collaborations with local musicians.

This dynamic group of musicians will hold workshops and master classes for young Sri Lankan musicians in both Galle and Colombo, sharing their musical abilities and experience of the music industry. The band is: Maya Azucena (Vocalist), a Brooklyn native, sees her music as a voice, of and for the people. Recently named Best Alternative Artiste of the Year by Allhiphop.com and nominated by soultracks.com as Best Female Vocalist of the Year, Azucena has shared the stage, with such legendary artists as, Robert Flack and has toured extensively in the U.S. and Europe and won two Croatian GRAMMY awards, for her collaboration with Croation superstar Gibonni earlier this year.

Ivan Katz (Drums), a Manhattan native, has been playing drums for 20 years, and specialises in soul, hip-hop, reggae and dance beats. Katz’s unique style results from immersion, in the sounds and vibrations of New York City. He has shared the stage with reggae superstars, including Toots Hibbert and Sugar Minott.

Bruce Mack (keyboards) is a multi-instrumentalist and educator, working in the genres of R&B, funk, jazz, experimental music, and hip-hop. He is the leader of the abstract/expressionist band Tricky Dilemma, a senior member of the collective Burnt Sugar, and also plays with the Arkestra Chamber. He is committed to music education for children, and currently oversees a special initiative at The Door, in New York City.

Christian Ver Halen (Guitar) is originally from Chicago and has been on the New York music scene, for over six years as a guitarist, songwriter and producer. He has performed at all the major venues, in the city and has toured the U.S. and Europe. As a leader of the group ‘The Rooftop,’ Ver Halen released the critically acclaimed album A Live Shot in 2006. 100% of the album’s sales are donated to Music Rising, a non-profit organisation, specifically aimed at, assisting musicians affected by Hurricane Katrina.


SriLankan staff bring ray of sunshine to elders home

Employees of SriLankan Airlines took their trademark warmth and caring to the Helpage Day Care Centre for Elders in Ratmalana recently, when they spent the day with 65 elderly members of the community.

The airline’s staff had a full day of activities with inmates of the Helpage Day Care Centre, which is a place where elderly persons, men and women, spend the day while their family members go off to work. The programme included a variety of entertainment, fun and games, with gifts for all. They took with them a 4-member calypso band which was in attendance throughout the day.

Comedy skits were provided by a local “Charlie Chaplin” and another 3-member team, who also gave a display of drama and a rendition of songs. There were also games galore for the elders - from musical chairs to passing the pillow, and some innovating new games in which everyone participated with gusto.

“SriLankan pays great respect to the traditions and customs of Sri Lanka, and respect for our elders is a very important custom,” said Nilanthi Perera, a member of the organising committee.


Asian regional accreditation workshop at OSC

On April 11, the Overseas School of Colombo hosted accreditation workshops for teachers at fully accredited international schools from the Asian region.

The Overseas School of Colombo is the only fully accredited school in Sri Lanka with accreditations through the Council of International Schools, UK and the Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges, USA.

Teachers and school leaders from the Asian region attended the workshops in the school’s auditorium, along with the teachers from OSC, which allowed them to gain certification as members of school accreditation teams. The workshops were run by Margaret Alvarez who is head of the regional accreditation office in Singapore.

OSC is one of a growing number of schools that has the stamp of excellence that comes from international accreditation through the Council of International Schools. Schools have to meet stringent standards with their curriculum, governance, financial transparency, buildings and grounds, teacher qualifications and professional development and community life.

During their last accreditation five years ago OSC gained high ratings for the quality of teaching, campus facilities, supportive governance, transparency of finances (not for profit school) and positive community atmosphere. However, OSC was advised that an internationally accredited school should have a sports facility of higher quality. As a direct result OSC is completely rebuilding its sports hall to match the other impressive facilities at its Battaramulla campus.


Festival of Peace

On 14, 15, 16th March a Peace Convention Festival of peace and blessings for the nation was held by Jesus Lives Evangelical Ministry at the Race Course Grounds in Colombo 7. Large numbers of people participated and received divine peace, blessings and healing. The divine messages were delivered by Prof. Evang. M. R. Rajendram and Bro. Christy Vincent Rajendram. Many pastors both foreign and local and the Parliament member & Human Rights activist Mano Ganeshan, Deputy Mayor Hon. S. Rajendran, Colombo North UNP Organiser Lilantha Perera, Westem Provincial member C. P. Y. Ram and former Mayor of Kotte Somadasa participated in this Peace Convention, on 21st March. A Good Friday procession and service was held at the Boys Industrial Grounds at Colombo 6.


Soirée des Etudiants

Soirée des Etudiants will be held at the Auditorium de l’Alliance Française on April 26, at 6:30 p.m. featuring DJ MAX. Tickets by reservation only. Contact the secretary on 2694162 Ext. 22