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SRI LANKA - Mini Travel Guide


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Just as the classical dances, traditional music also is an important part of Sri Lanka's vibrant and colorful culture. Along with classical dances, drums are also used from ancient times. Sri Lankan Drum tradition is believed to go as far back as 2500 years. Originally drums were used for pleasure and then for the rituals.

The vibrant beat of the rhythm of the drums form the basic of the dance. It is believed that there are about 30 traditional drums.

Some of the drums that are used in music in Sri Lanka are Gata Bera, Thammatama, Yak Bera, Udakkiya, Hand Rabana, Daula, Bench Rabana.

Drums are used in religious ceremonies and local festivals.

In major events like the Peraheras (pageants) of Sri Lanka are comprised of the sounds of Drums. Farmers use many varieties of drums (Uddakki, Bummadi to name a few) when harvesting crops. Even in the rituals in Sri Lankan Folklore Pirith chanting and Thowil (exorcism) drums were involved.

There are three types of drums:
- one faced
- two faced
- flat faced

There are six basics drums:

Essentially used in Kandyan dance.

This is the demon drum or the drum used in low country dance in which the dancers wear masks and perform devil dancing.

It is a barrel shaped drum, and it was used as a companion drum in the past, to keep strict time with the beat.

A flat, two faced drum. The drummer strikes the drum on the two surfaces on top with sticks, unlike the others where you drum on the sides. This is a companion drum to the Dawula.

A small double headed hand drum, used to accompany songs. It is mostly heard in the poetry dances (Vannam).

Flat faced circular drum and comes in several sizes. The large Rabana has to be placed on the floor like a circular short-legged table and several people (especially the women) can sit around it and beat on it with both hands. This is used in festivals such as the Sinhalese New Year and ceremonies such as weddings.

Some playing moments of traditional drums in Sri Lanka..



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