The ‘Bera Fest 2017’ held recently at Viharamahadevi Complex was a unique day-long festival of drums that featured almost all the major drummers in the country. It was an apt event to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Naadro, that has made a mark in the percussion music in Sri Lanka. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Sagala Rathnayaka, Minister for Law and Order and Southern Development were among the special invitees.
Rakhita Ruwan Wikramarathne, is the founder and leader of the percussion ensemble that is among globally recognized percussion bands. The event was sponsored by Tiara Rollo, marketed by Ceylon Biscuits Limited (CBL) in an endeavour to contribute to Sri Lanka’s music industry and popularize percussion among the younger generation and the event blended well with the chocolate brand Rollo favoured by young people.
Nilupul de Silva, Marketing Manager of CBL Foods International (Pvt) Ltd, commented “CBL believes in fostering talent and this unique event showcases the skills that place Sri Lankan musicians shoulder to shoulder with renowned performers in the world and is an opportunity to inspire and encourage young aspiring artists.”
At the Bera Fest 2017, Naadro unleashed a mesmerizing musical experience to the 3000 strong audience for two hours using a wide range of percussion instruments and drums. A fusion of the percussion melodies with music of Mahesh Denipitiya Orchestra was unique and creative.
The unusual concert featured renowned artists including Eric Moore from USA and Pete Lockette from UK in addition to well-known Sri Lankan musicians such as Aruna Siriwardhane, Jananaath Warakagoda who added a western touch to local percussion creations, Upula Madhushanka who has a degree from Bhathkande College of Music in India and played the Tabla, and Peshala Manoj who has a Bachelor of Music degree and Masters degree in performing arts. The concert also featured popular vocalists Bhathiya & Santhush, Lahiru Perera, Chithral Somapala, Kasun Kalhara and Daddy.
“Bera Fest 2017 is an event that all musicians in Sri Lanka can be proud of. While the focus at this event was on percussion music and drums, it was an opportunity to understand and appreciate the contribution music has made to enhance the life of our people in all walks of life. Bera Fest 2017 appealed to youth, and it was appropriate that the event was sponsored by Tiara Rollo – a product favoured by the younger generation” commented Rakhitha.
An important feature at the event was that Sri Lankan professional drummers showcased their talents with solo performances throughout the day. Among them were Subhash of Marians, Dennis of Misty, Shamila from Daddy, Sumudhi from Music Matters, Jimmith from Magic Box and Harshan Gallage.
Adding great value to the event was an interactive recording studio controlled by Studio Music Oven that was open to the audience to experiment. There was also an exhibition of percussion instruments that was possibly the biggest ever held in Sri Lanka.