Guardians of a unique heritage | Sunday Observer

Guardians of a unique heritage

Lyrics haunting and lilting, vigorous and exuberant, pulsating rhythms and dances full of joie di vivre – all this came to life when the Kaffringha Dancers of Sirambiyadi , Puttalam stole the show on the morning of Sunday the Sixth of April at Kalpitiya Collective Wild, Sri Lanka’s first holistic festival celebrating art, culture with a strong focus on environment and much more. The Dancers’ scintillating performance of the songs and dances of their Mozambican forefathers and their songs in Portuguese Creole had a captive audience calling for more and joining in the joyous dances.

The Kaffirs of Sri Lanka are descended from the people of Mozambique who were brought to Sri Lanka by the Portuguese - the first western colonisers of Sri Lanka ‘s coastal areas. These early settlers were homesick in a strange land and looked to music to ease their loneliness. They fashioned their instrument from easily available, inexpensive materials. Two coconut shells to beat out rhythms on a board, two metal spoons, a tambourine and a dolakkiya (a drum) are use d create music which is unique and unforgettable.

It was obvious that music was in their blood as they whirled and twirled , leapt and swayed in perfect harmony, their faces very expressive in conveying emotions .

Many kudos to Dilsiri Welikala, Keira Perera, Anais Garcia and Arrvinda Salawatura, the organisers of Kalpitiya Collective Wild for having the vision and passion to showcase the Kaffringha dancers , a unique ethnic minority culture in Sri Lanka’s rich, cultural heritage.

Pix: Shan Rambukwella