alive with music from across the globe
By Vindya Amaranayake
reporting from Jaffna
Jaffna Municipal Grounds, in the close vicinity of
famous Jaffna Library and Alfred Duraiappah Stadium,
came alive last two days, as hundreds of artistes
from across the country took part in the Jaffna
Music Festival 2011.
More than 24 local folk art and music groups
representing many areas in the country and five
international folk groups from India, Nepal,
Palestine, South Africa and Norway rendered
performances to the applaud of the crowds gathered
at the stadium.
Funded by the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Colombo
in partnership with USAID, the festival was
organised by the Sewa Lanka Foundation with the
support of Concerts Norway and Aru Sri Art Theatre.
“We plan to make this a biannual event. And next we
want to have a similar festival in Galle,”
organizers told The Nation.
The groups were selected following a long process
that ran over three months, after processing 60-80
applications. The main event in Jaffna was followed
by a series of village performances. “Most of these
groups have been confined to their villages for many
years and have not performed outside. For them,
performing under lights and with modern sound
equipment was a novel idea,” the organisers said.
University of Jaffna has played a significant role
in identifying unique folk art groups in Jaffna and
a university representative said until recently they
were not able to have night performances due to the
conflict. For the first time after a long time they
were able to have a festival running into late
Hundreds of enthusiastic crowds visited the
festival and one of the highlights was the fact that
there were entire families coming from many areas in
the Jaffna Peninsula visiting the festival with even
small children. Sub Inspector L. S. Weerasinghe from
the Illaveli Police Station, who was in duty at the
festival said, until this festival the people hardly
had any opportunities to engage in cultural events
with their families. “There had been musical shows
here. But, this is different. People have come with
their children and parents to this event,” he said.
Among the crowd there were many from the South,
who have been aware of the festival for months.
However, The Nation found out that many in the
Jaffna Peninsula and the northern region were not
aware of the festival.
The festival will conclude today and the
international participants are expected to take part
in a concert on Tuesday March 29 at the Tourist
Board Auditorium in Colombo.