Colombo Music Festival promises to dazzle music lovers

Thursday, 23 August 2012 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By Cassandra Mascarenhas

One of Colombo’s most highly anticipated events of the year, the inaugural Senses and Soul Colombo Music Festival, the first-ever music festival of its kind to be held in Sri Lanka, will kick off tonight with a grand opening ceremony and concert featuring the Gipsy Kings and the All Star Band, which will be held at Waters Edge.


With 210 local musicians and 70 international artistes, the four-day festival will consist of concurrent events being held at multiple venues across Colombo. Covering a wide range of genres, the events will appeal to all music lovers. Aside from concerts and jamming sessions, the festival also includes workshops, chat shows, a kids’ carnival and several after parties.

Empowering Sri Lanka’s aspiring musical talent, the festival will also host the ‘Spirit’ competition for which the auditions were held over the past two months where hundreds of hopeful musicians showed off their talents to a panel of judges.

The finalists will perform over the weekend at the Lionel Wendt for a series of record labels including Sony BMG, Universal Records, The Fridge Dubai, M Entertainment and Faith and Hope.

The finalists have been thoroughly prepared for this by attending workshops featuring prominent music teachers helping them improve on their writing and performance skills amongst other things.

“The amount of sheer talent that Sri Lanka has to offer, in any style of music, is quite incredible. They now have a chance to better their skills and display them on an international platform. For such a small country, we have a very diverse talent base,” observed one of the founders of the David Academy of Performing Arts Andre David, who has been working closely with the performers and was a judge at the auditions for the ‘Spirit’ competition.

Founder of Mantra Moods and the Director of the Colombo Music Festival Haadia S. Galely stated, “With the repertoire of the artistes that are going to be playing at the festival from today, we are guaranteed to have four days of the best music has to offer. We definitely couldn’t have done it without our sponsors and I am truly grateful for their support.”

At the press conference held yesterday to announce the launch of the festival, those present were given a sneak peek of what the festival will hold in store as the rhythmic Gipsy Kings All Stars paired off with renowned flautist Bikramjit Singh for a dazzling impromptu performance.

“This festival is about creating the reality of a dream. We are so excited to bring the flavours of South of France to Sri Lanka and the performances that Gipsy King have lined up have been created especially for the Colombo Music Festival and will introduce a new twist to their music as performers from India and Sri Lanka join the Gipsy Kings All Stars onstage,” said a representative of the Gipsy Kings.

Joining the festival from India will be flautists Hariprasad Chaurasia and Bikramjit Singh, from Japan, Koei Tanaka on the harmonica encompassing blues, jazz and RnB and from Sri Lanka, classical pianist Dr. Tanya Ekanayake.

Other performers from Sri Lanka include renowned personalities such as Mirage, Noeline Hunter, Geoffrey Fernando, Judy De Silva, Clifford Richards, Rukshan Perera and The Rebels.

“We are certainly not going to stop with this year – we hope to make this an annual event, making it bigger and better in the years to come,” asserted spokesman for the Colombo Music Festival Arun Bias Banda-ranaike.

“The plan for the next year is already being prepared and we believe that it will be more effective in the following year as it’s very widespread this year which has made it difficult for the organising committee to manage. This year has been a learning experience and we are hoping to finetune it.”

Tickets for the Senses and Soul Colombo Music Festival can be purchased at the Park Street Mews, Hilton, Galadari, Dwellings and Waters Edge.

The many venues at which the events will be held include the Festival Village – Waters Edge, Nelum Pokuna, Sivam Kovil, Taj Samudra, the Colombo National Museum, British School, Museus College Auditorium, Park Street Mews, Galadari, the Beira Lake, Galle Face Green and the Lionel Wendt.

For more information on the performing artistes and to view the festival programme, visit the festival’s official website –

 – Pix by Lasantha Kumara