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Sri Lanka
Ritual Drumming and Dance

The music of Sri Lanka has its roots in five primary influences: ancient folk rituals, Hindu religious traditions, Buddhist religious traditions, the legacy of European colonisation, and the commercial and historical influence of nearby Indian culture—specifically, Kollywood cinema and Bollywood cinema. 

The Portuguese were the first Europeans to arrive in Sri Lanka, landing in the mid-15th century. They brought with them traditional cantiga balladsukuleles and guitars, as well as conscripted Africans (referred to, historically, as kaffrinhas), who spread their own style of music known as baila. The influence of both European and African traditions served to further diversify the musical roots of contemporary Sri Lankan music.

Teaching Artists


Sumudi Suraweera, PhD.

drumset, percussion

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Listen to Examples 

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