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28th February 1999

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Kala Corner- By Dee Cee

These drummers were a class by themselves

It was an absorbing performance by the trio - Piyasara, Ravibandu and Krishna - (call them drummers or percussionists, what ever you like) last Sunday evening at the German Cultural Institute. They proved that they are a class by themselves. Not that we understood much about the intricacies of what drumming is all about. But it was just fine!

Due to the heavy downpour in the evening they could not perform on the lawn, as planned. That would have been lovely. So inside the hall, it turned out to be a 'peduru party'. We didn't mind it. Neither did we care about the heat (air conditioners would have disturbed the music) nor the failing lights. The three of them just kept all of us enthralled.

Piyasara, master of the tammettama, davula and the udekki, Ravibandu in his inimitable style playing the geta bere and Krishna with a thimla, the main percussion instrument used in Kerala. (He had mastered this instrument during his recent visit there when he studied the 'Pancha Vadyam' at the Kerala Kala Mandalam). There was a fourth in the group - Robyn Schulkowsky from Germany, quite competent in playing western drums. A keen student of drumming, she is on tour and had spent the past two to three weeks learning about our drums.

We need more of this type of entertainment. The artistes will ask, "where are the sponsors?" Food for thought for those interested in lending a hand to promote the arts.

Felicitating a pioneer translator

He will be 71 this week - on March 3. He has had a passion for the Sinhala language and literature throughout his life. He was rewarded with a honorary doctorate from the Kelaniya University for his "noble, incomparable, unique" service the other day. And now on his birthday he will be offered the nation's gratitude by way of a felicitation ceremony.

He is the distinguished writer Kiringoda Gamage (K. G. ) Karunatilleke, the pioneer in introducing world classics to the Sinhala reader. He was responsible for creating an awareness of Shakespeare classics like 'Othello' and 'Macbeth' while maintaining their original form. Thanks to him many a Soviet, French and English writer are no longer strangers to Sinhala readers. He has over 40 translations to his credit today.

Hailing from Akmeemana in the South, he began his literary career by contributing to the 'Sinhala Jatiya' and 'Sinhala Balaya' when he was a student. He served on the editorial staff of the 'Dinamina' and 'Silumina'. As an Assistant Commissioner in the Department of Educational Publications, he launched a programme to provide additional reading material to students in keeping with the syllabus of each subject.

Five times winner of the State Literary Award for Best Translator, Karunatilleke was awarded the Vishwa Prasadini Award presented to mark Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike's 80th birthday. Colombo University conferred the Vindana Prasada Pranama on him.

It is an open invitation from his publisher Dayawansa Jayakody to the Jayewardene Cultural Centre on Wednesday for the felicitation ceremony. Two more new books will be released - Karunatilleke's translations of British novelist Sir Henry Rider Haggard's 'She' in two parts.

They turned up in their numbers

Creations (similar to framed paintings) done with remnants of throw away material from the coconut palm (what we call 'pol matulu' in Sinhala) are my pick from this year's Kala Pola, the annual open air art market organised by the George Keyt Foundation on February 14. They were unusual and extremely creative.

The creator, Piyal Inguruwatta, a young man from Minhettiya off Kurunegala had got the idea from a friend who had painted on 'matulu' . Piyal had gone a step further. He had translated his ideas into creations on 'matulu'. Piyal, an A level student at Maliyadeva College should have a bright future with his unusual creations.

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