What is Baila?
Yaman Selō, Yaman Selō, pēra kadannē//
Pēra motade, jambu hondai dōsi damannē//
Dōsi damannē nōne dōsi damannē…
A lecture on ‘What is Baila?’ presented by Dr. Shihan de Silva Jayasuriya with illustrative accompaniments on Piano & Bongo was held on 6th April at The Sooriya Village, Colombo 05.
The event commenced with Udena Wickremesooriya of the Sooriya Village welcoming the audience. Shihan traced the trajectory of Baila; if Baila is a dance, a music or a song; what is Kaffrinha; how Kaffir Portuguese music influenced contemporary popular Sri Lankan music; findings of C.M. Fernando and Hugh Neville’s manuscripts from the 19th century. She played Ceylonese Dances, ‘Singale Nona/Yaman Selō’ and other songs on the Piano with her husband, Hemal, on vocals and accompanying Bongo.
Shihan continued to present on the Portuguese colonial legacy; Prof. Ediriweera Sarachchandra’s definition of Kaffirinha; the Kaffirinha dancers in the 1950’s; Manhas of the Kaffirs of Sirambiyadiya; Vaada Baila of Sri Lanka and the music of Wally Bastianz: “Lankawata baila gena Wally Bastien, Baila walin rata hollapu baila champion…//”.
“Baila is not an import from Portugal. Baila is a new genre of music, composed in Sri Lanka. Baila conveys a new postcolonial identity” says Shihan, concluding her lecture demonstration and the audience were invited for any questions.
An impressive collection of information gathered by Baila lovers who joined Shihan and Hemal in singing “Ran Pota Thelambuwa” at the closure.
Dr. Shihan de Silva Jayasuriya is a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, School of Advanced Study (University of London). She is also an elected Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society (Great Britain & Ireland). Shihan has written six books, edited two books and co-authored another book in addition to over hundred publications in international academic journals. Her works encompass history, musicology, ethnomusicology, literature and linguistics. Shihan is a pianist trained in the western classical cannon and holds a Diploma in Piano Performance from the London College of Music.
Stay tuned for more events on Baila…