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 Theater, with core funding by the Royal Norwegian Embassy .
Sevalanka has been involved mainly in organizing and implementing music festivals under this larger music cooperation established between Norway and Sri Lanka in 2009. The music festivals have been organized 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 May 29-30,.
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 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 Martin Wickremesinghe Folk Museum, giving 3,500 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 6,500.
This year, the Jaffna Music Festival will be two-fold, focusing on folk, traditional and folk fusion. The first part will be the children’s festival to be held on May 29, and the second part will be the main festival – the Jaffna Music Festival 2015 which will be held the following day, May 30, where we hope to have eight to10 local groups of which at least five-six 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 an unique, colourful and cultural experience.
The main festival will be from 4pm–11pm with a photographic exhibition, displaying pictures of the previous festivals from 2009 that will be from 3pm onwards. The Children’s Festival will be from 9am–1pm on May 29 with many interactive activities for children to learn and at the same time enjoy themselves.
Groups performing at the main festival on May 30 are as follows – Banku Raban- Mathugama, Sabaragamuwa Bali- Ratnapura , Yaal Kiramiya Sangamam- Jaffna, Sufi -Ampara , Baliphonics – Colombo, Pooli Koothu- Batticloa, Udappu – Puththalam ,University Collaboration Act (Jaffna/Batticloa/Peradeniya universities) and Thappu – Kilinochchi and three international groups from Bangladesh and India.