Rejuvenating folk culture for next generation | Page 2 | Sunday Observer

Rejuvenating folk culture for next generation

1 August, 2021

Ranwala Balakaya which made history by rejuvenating our folk music culture has geared up for a giant task. We all know that the veteran musician considered to be the father of folk music scattered the light of folk culture for the budding artistes to shine.

We are as a country indebted to him. If you visit the website of Ranwala Balakaya, you can gain an understanding of their vision and mission. We are a future generation that loves our past. A country cannot be defined by either square kilometres or the number of heads. In the eyes of the international community, a country communicates in the language of culture. This effort is to pass down what we have inherited and what we have lost to our next generation.

For the development and rejuvenation of our folk music culture, the Ranwala Balakaya has organised many activities. Our folk music can be divided into two categories. The first is folk songs (Gemi Gee). The second is the Sey Gee. The difference between these two types is the fact that folk songs are not well composed and uniform. But Se Gee considered to be much more advanced is composed by well learnt artistes. For example, “Prasasthi”, “Hatan Gee”, “Sandesha Gee” belong to the category of Sey Gee.

Ranwala Balakaya

Ranwala Balakaya led by the veteran musician Sahan Ranwala can be said to be a collection of talented and skilled artistes.

The main objective is to promote Sri Lankanness and our folk music culture. The main uniqueness of Ranwala Balakaya is that they have created an identity in our hearts. Even many songs such as “Yakku Bolawu” , “Thun Hela Mangalle”, “Dasa Maha Yodayo” and “Yuddetat Awit” stay in our hearts.

Back in 2000, the veteran musician late Lionel Ranwala founded the Thaalama Jathika Foundation and started to conduct courses at the Jana Kala Kendraya in Battaramulla. After his demise, the Thaalama Foundation was re-named as the Ranwala Foundation. At present, the Ranwala Balakaya has planned to conduct a folk music, preforming arts and drumming course with the aim of bringing our folk music closer to children.

This course will be held in mid-August. The reason behind this is that many students who continue their studies in English medium are not aware of folk culture. As a result when they go abroad, they cannot create a unique identity for themselves. In addition to this, there can be seen many activities such as workshops, musical shows, music classes and programs. “Lanka E School” is another best example. The courses offered by this program are painting and Sinhala Language. Anyone can get more information by visiting the website,

Ranwala Balakaya has taken due steps to create a platform for Sri Lankan children to contribute to different activities. There can be seen many talented and skilled children living in western countries. The main objective of creating a platform is to involve such children in folk music and folk dance. For example, they have created a network with children who live in Melbourne.

Lionel Ranwala

The late Lionel Ranwala rendered a great service to the preservation of our folk music and folk dance. Out of his songs, the most popular ones are “Gamage Ahulaggnan”, “Mey Avurudu kale” and “wannam Sawudam”. Another amazing fact is that Lionel Ranwala’s voice still brings the fragrance of Sinhala Hindu Avurudu season. He passed away in 2002.

Sahan Ranwala

No doubt that the veteran artiste Sahan Ranwala born on July 3, 1978 has made a great effort to preserve his father’s legacy. In 2003, he started Ranwala Balakaya for youngsters between the ages of 10-15. In 2011, Ranwala Balakaya won the award for the Best Performing Folk Song Troupe “at the folk songs festival at Guangxi China. He has penned a book titled “Welawa Keeyada”.