The Jaffna Music Festival, the sister event of the Galle Music Festival, is an initiative of the Sri Lanka-Norway Music Cooperation, implemented by Sevalanka Foundation in partnership with Concerts Norway and artistic direction from Aru Sri Art Theatre, with core funding by the Royal Norwegian Embassy .
Sevalanka has been involved mainly in organising and implementing Music Festivals under this larger Music Cooperation established between Norway and Sri Lanka in 2009. The Music Festivals have been organised with the main objective of building ethnic harmony through cultural interventions. The festivals are held annually alternating between Jaffna and Galle.
The Jaffna Music Festival is now a calendar event for music and art lovers in Sri Lanka and visiting tourists. This year the event will be held for the third time in Jaffna on 29 and 30 May.
The Jaffna Music Festival began in 2011 to bring back the forgotten folk traditions that have been passed down for generations that were neglected during the 30-year conflict. The folk music, dance and drama which was showcased over three days helped revive the forgotten folklore of mainly the north and east as well as gave the people an opportunity to experience and appreciate other cultures.
The previous Jaffna Music Festival which was held in March 2013 showcased an eclectic array of music – which included folk, contemporary and classical (to name a few) which attracted an audience of over 25,000 over a two-day period.
Festivals held in Galle have been equally successful and created a platform on which musicians and audiences alike were given the opportunity to interact and engage in the exchange of ideas. Last year, the Galle Music Festival 2014 was held for the third time as a two-day event.
The Children’s Festival, ‘Music is for All,’ was held at the Martine Wickremesinghe Folk Museum giving over 3500 Children an opportunity to experience and learn Sri Lankan and International Music as well as providing an opportunity for children to experience and interact with different ethnic communities. On the second day the main Festival took place at the Moon Bastion Galle Fort which attracted an audience of over 6,500.
This year the Jaffna Music Festival 2015 will be two-fold focusing on folk, traditional and folk fusion. The first part will be the Children’s Festival to be held on 29 May and the second part will be the main Festival – the Jaffna Music Festival 2015, which will be held the following day, 30 May 2015.
The organisers hope to have eight to 10 local groups of which several will be from the northern region and the rest from different parts of the island. There will also be three international groups performing from India and Bangladesh making it a unique, colourful, cultural experience.
The main Festival will be from 4 p.m.-11 p.m. with a photographic exhibition displaying pictures of the previous Festivals from 2009 that will be from 3 p.m. onwards. The Children’s Festival will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on 29 May with many interactive activities for children to learn and at the same time enjoy themselves.
Groups performing at the main festival on 30 May are as follows: Banku Raban – Mathugama, Sabaragamuwa Bali – Ratnapura, Yaal Kiramiya Sangamam – Jaffna, Sufi – Ampara, Baliphonics – Colombo, Pooli Koothu – Batticaloa, Udappu – Puththalam, University Collaboration Act – Jaffna/Batticaloa/Peradeniya universities, and Thappu – Kilinochchi. There will also be three international groups from Bangladesh and India.