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Sri Lankan music of yore

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Music is a universal language composed of systematic chords. Singing and playing are required to create Nadarata. Musical instruments have been used to enhance tone patterns since ancient times. With modern instruments as well as the modernization of existing instruments, several instruments have emerged today. These instruments are classified according to their unique nature.

The Polonnaruwa period, which began in 1055 AD, was a time when music was to a large extent prevalent in Sri Lanka. Historical records show that during this period there was high state patronage for Hindu religious activities; at that time there was a building called “Saraswati Mandapa” for music and dance. Vidyacakravarti’s Buthsarana mentions these places. From such literary evidence, we can gather that since the days of the ancients, real products and instruments were used by our people.

Drama, music, painting, carving, architecture, whatever the subject, entail the special features of a country’s culture. Therefore, “folk music” forms not only a part of the culture of a country, but also the identity of a nation.

The term “folk music” can be used to describe a variety of vocal traditions. It is safe to say that folk music is a collection of popular singing and playing traditions.

1. Folk songs

2. Se Gee

The most obvious difference between Gami Gee and Segi is in the language used.

1. Applied language (Mukhaparampara)

2. Written language (Likhitha)

The composition of the folk song is in the vernacular and the composition of the song is in the written language. Although the composer of a folk song is an individual, folk songs are often sung collectively.

“What are folk songs? Folk singers are villagers. It’s not. Janageetha or Janakavi was an integral part of folklore as the daily activities of the villagers were intertwined. Feelings of sadness, happiness, sadness, sympathy, disgust, excitement, and poverty, which are reflected in the minds of the innocent villager, were the themes on which the folk poem was created. It mirrors the life of the villager.

Janakaviya was associated with the daily life of the villagers, a life that was nurtured by an authenticity, simplicity, and discipline instilled by Buddhism. He represented various events such as Janakavi, Keli Gee, Mehe Gee, Bathi Gee, Nalu Gee, and Shanthi Karma Gee.

Popular song form

The most popular among them are Parukavi, Galkavi, Palkavi and Pathal Kavi which are in the category of Seepada. Depending on the beliefs, customs, and sports of the villagers, their folk songs can be divided into Olida Keerada, Onchili Waram, Goyam Kapana Kavi, and Goyam Nelana Kavi.

Goyam Gee includes matters pertaining to the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha, the gods and goddesses, and prayers to divinity. Now ordinary people will understand that Janagi are not songs themed on Govithenata. With the advent of urban people, folk songs, folk songs, traditional songs, and so on, were used to introduce our ancient folk tradition.

We have our own folk music, superior in many ways to other forms of music. You may have realized that folk music belongs to the cultural heritage of a certain people. India as well as Sri Lanka is steeped in that heritage. Accordingly, the nationality of folk music is due to Sinhala folk songs and to distinguish it from other nations.

Local scholars and foreign scholars are exploring the various folk songs that we have inherited, and they say that we as classical Sri Lankans have a high tradition of folk music, Andahara, Raban Pada, Devotional Songs, Mehe Gee, Keli Gee, Nalu Gee, Commentary, Sivapada, Nelum Kavi, Mal Yahan Kavi, Tahanchi Kavi, Nelavili Gee, Viridhu, Vedda Geetha, and so on, are various elements of Sinhala folk music. Folk songs were not limited.

Covering a large field, folk songs have become one of the most influential folk music genres today. Although it does not fit into the category of folk songs given today, it is a form of music that is unique to us. Our folk ditties are nourished by a variety of vocal styles that can be sung on the rhythms of the vocal cords, the vocal cords, and the syllables. Our wedding drumming tradition is unmatched by any other genre in the world.

Indigenous identity

Our folk music tradition has become world class internationally through singing and drumming, showcasing the indigenousness (identity) of Sri Lanka to the world. There are three styles of singing, namely, Upcountry, Low Country and Sabaragamuwa. There is a big difference between these.

Folk songs were also instrumental in shaping the musical traditions of the country. You have heard that different countries in the world use different types of music bands, Indian music, Chinese music, Japanese music, Western music, and Malaysian music in different ways. Every genre of music is based on “folk songs” or “folk songs”. Accordingly, the development of Indian music has been historically attributed to folk songs, gothrika songs and yaga songs.

Historical sources suggest that Homer may have contributed to Greek music, as well as the cymbals, cyborgs, and vandibhata songs used in royal palaces, and folk music. These extend to Bhajans, religious songs sung in temples, Lumri, Tappa and Punjabi hymns, as well as Vedic hymns from the Pagan period. Music scholars in many countries agree on the following categorisation:

1. Tribal Songs

2. Poem relation

3. Devotional songs

4. Scientific songs, conceived from a non-folk perspective

The history of the Sinhala kingdom in Kandy began wita Juan Konappu Bandara I, also known as Wimala Ddharmasuriya I, at Senkadagala in 1690 AD. The Sinhala dynasty which lasted for 46 years came to an end in 1705, to be succeeded by Vira Parakrama Narendrasinghe in 1738.

After the death of his Narendrasinghe, the Sinhala kingdom fell into the hands of the Nayakkar dynasty, the brother of the Mahesiya, as there was no son prince to rule. Narendrasinghe on three occasions married three princesses of the Nayakkar dynasty of South India and eventually had to hand over kingship to their community. Nevertheless, the Kandyan period, which came to an end after the conquest of King Wickrama Rajasinghe by the British in 1615, seems to have influenced the development of Sri Lankan music.

State Council

Music and dance institutions associated with the State Council can be seen in the Kandyan period. Namely, Poet’s Hall, Dance, Ilangama, WahalaIlangama, Puranpettukara Division, Singarakkakkara Division etc.

Rajasabha music from Polonnaruwa is used in a more elaborate manner. Poetry sheds established during the reign of Narendrasinghe continued up to the reign of Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe. In this poet’s hut the Nayakkara queens and their relatives’ songs were sung and heard. It is said that the “Harishchanda Nadagama” performed in Telugu during the reign of Rajadhi Rajasinghe was staged by Alagunaidu. However, it is said that several hymns, praises, passages, viraha songs, vannams and songs have been presented to the king at the Poet’s Hall with a gesture. A permanent staff was also appointed for this purpose.

In addition to local drums and melodies, there were also welcome ceremonies with foreign bands such as the trumpet. Evidence that led to the progress of music can be seen in social festivals such as the Esala Perahera and the New Rice Festival which were held during the Kandyan period.

Dividos Shantikarmaya, which started in the Dambadeniya period, is also known as the Kohomba Kankariya. It seems that songs of musical value like Yadini were also composed during the Kandyan period. The book “Wadankusa Ratnamalaya” copied from the musician Ganithalankara gives some principles related to the music of the Kandy era. It has been stated that there are 32 ragas, 64 songs, 18 vannam and 32 thalam related to that vocal singing.

Past sources provide us with a wealth of information on the history of music in Sri Lanka. Among those sources, we can cite many sources such as books, carvings, sculptures, and paintings as examples of this.

In searching for historical information in Sri Lankan music, four eras of the past seem to be the most important for this. Much of the historical information related to music to these eras, which went down in history as kingdoms, is now attested to by ancient sources. These are the four eras.

* Anuradhapura
* Polonnaruwa
* Dambadeniya
* Kandyan


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