A musical celebration of freedom 

Saturday, 25 February 2012 00:19 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Mother Sri Lanka Trust is a non-profit charitable trust set up by the Presidential Secretariat to promote patriotism in the country and since 2008 it has been involved in various programmes to uplift patriotism among Sri Lankans.

Its latest programme, Mother Sri Lanka, in collaboration with the Art of Living Foundation – an international movement that works on peace and reconciliation – and the support of the Ministry of Education and the Presidential Secretariat, prepares to launch the Interfaith Music Festival 2012 in an effort to celebrate the new-found peace, freedom and reconciliation and boost inter-ethnic coexistence within the country.

1,500 children of all ages representing the four main religions in Sri Lanka from schools all over the island will come together, in one grand musical forum, to sing songs and chants from each faith on a single platform for the first time in Asia. The young singers will be accompanied by 300 drummers, 200 dancers, and 50 guitarists, all volunteers to the effort and also from across the nation adding up to a total of 2,500 performers.

Apart from this, renowned local musicians such as Edward Jayakody, Bathiya & Santhush, Saundarie David, Arunthathy Sriranganathan, Sohan Weerasinghe amongst others will join the children to sing along and even the expected audience of 2,500 spectators are welcome to join in the festivities, singing along with the children.

 For a united Sri Lanka under one flag

“The idea behind this is for all of us to get together regardless of our religious backgrounds to respect and appreciate other religions. This is not just a music festival but it’s about all four religions in the country getting together in a single event to sing Buddhist Bhakthi Gee, Christian carols, as well as Hindu and Islamic chants, through a unique mixing of children from Jaffna to Matara dressed in ethnic attire reflecting the colours of the national flag,” Mother Sri Lanka Chairperson Janaki Kuruppu.

 We are not Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim or Burgher - we are Sri Lankans

Ministry of Education Director of Education (Music) Edward Jayakody, who is involved in coordinating the event said, “We often attend Buddhist, Christian/Catholic, Hindu and Islamic rituals separately at occasions such as Vesak, Christmas and other religious and cultural gatherings. The Interfaith Music Festival 2012 will be a unique opportunity to bring all this together on a single stage and promote our identity as Sri Lankans.”    

 A musical message to reach all corners of the island

Art of Living Foundation teacher and Coordinating director of the musical programme Sri Ram stated, “When we discussed to initiate this concept with Mother Sri Lanka, our intention was to reach out to all four corners of the country and get everyone together. I invite everyone to come and participate and join with us in promoting togetherness in the country.”

 Truly Sri Lankan music for our youth

Musician Jayantha Ratnayake working to make this programme a success, expressed his belief in giving something truly Sri Lankan for our youth who are often misled into following Western trends. “We are in an age where most of our youth patronize the West. This will be an exceptional event that will promote truly Sri Lankan music and introduce a better form to music to our youth.”

 An amazing musical extravaganza

Torana Music Box proprietor and Ambassador of Mother Sri Lanka Ambassador Sarath Kotelawala expressed his enthusiasm at being able to contribute to this musical coming-together of all religions in Sri Lanka. “We will produce a DVD of the event in order to raise funds for future projects organized by Mother Sri Lanka,” he further added.

As the country leaves behind the gloom of civil conflict and moves forward towards lasting peace and prosperity, the Interfaith Music Festival will provide a musical symbol for the togetherness that is required for a beautiful Sri Lanka. The Interfaith Musical Festival 2012 is scheduled to be held on Saturday, 25 February from 6.00 p.m. onwards at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium with the platinum sponsorship by Tharunyata Hetak and other sponsors.