Sri Lankan Baila: Heartbeat of the Nation

March 4, 1:30pm - 2:45pm
Mānoa Campus, Music Building Room 7

“Sri Lankan Baila: Heartbeat of the Nation” Lecture and Performance

Dr. Shihan de Silva Jayasuriya School of Advanced Study, University of London

Wednesday, March 4, 1:30 – 2:45pm Music Building Room 7

This lecture will discuss Portuguese impact on contemporary Sri Lankan popular music. After Sri Lanka’s independence in 1948, a new postcolonial genre of music, song and dance emerged: Chorus Baila. Its non-exclusionary nature, multilingual lyrics and hybridity caught the pulse of the newly independent nation. This lecture contextualizes Chorus Baila through the musical life of its composer, Mervin Ollington Bastianz, a Sri Lankan policeman whose poetic and musical talents united a multiethnic nation.

Dr. de Silva Jayasuriya is a Senior Fellow at the School of Advanced Study, University of London, since 2007. She has published widely on migration, commerce and cultural exchange in the Indian Ocean, including Afro-Asian ethnomusicological and linguistic cultures. She is a pianist and holds a Diploma in Piano Performance from the London College of Music, University of West London.

This event is made possible by grants from the Rama Watumull Collaborative Lecture Series of the Center for South Asian Studies and SEED IDEAS, both of the UHM.

For questions, please contact Prof. Ned Bertz, Department of History ( The attached flyer contains more information about the event.

Event Sponsor
Center for South Asian Studies, Mānoa Campus

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