Blues for Sri Lanka
Music to me has always been an emotional matter from earliest times of my life. My preoccupation with it was obsessional and in some ways a distracter to other educational interests.
My acquaintance with music technology i.e. using computers and music software to record, edit and produce music has only been about four years in the making. This is my first attempt to put some of my work on-line to see if there will be any audience interest or appreciation.
This is a desktop production from start to finish in a typical home studio type environment. The technology is not the most sophisticated, and therefore some of the synthesized sounds can lack the authenticity of a real instrument at certain frequencies.
The music is experimental and is an attempt to fuse South Asian Musical rhythms with elements of Jazz & Blues. Its origins were purely accidental and as a result, the smallest possibility of seeing it through grew into a concept that fired my interest and its development followed thereafter.
I was born in Sri Lanka, formerly the British Colony of Ceylon. It was a listening post for a rich mix of music from all over the world which, provided an opportunity for a broad spectrum of music appreciation in most or its forms. The music of the land however was simply Eastern. In the flute solo in the title track, I was very fortunate in my improvisation to recreate and capture in a sense, the ethnic flavour of that music heard so long ago, before drifting into the blues on the electric piano. The essential identity of this music is based on the rhythm pattern of “Baila” music. This is extremely popular dance music that has been around for centuries.
The story behind it is that those centuries ago, the Portuguese brought this form of music to the island. Sri Lankan history teachers that they were the first Europeans to enter the island by accident, when one of their ships took refuge from a fierce storm at sea, off the coast of Sri Lanka. They then formed a relationship with the island’s Royalty and people, and in subsequent cultural exchanges, introduced “Baila” which, apparently translates as “Dance” to the local population.
Since then it has developed into an art form where stories from real life are used to provide the lyrics that are rapidly absorbed and performed in communal participation with the music. This has a similarity in human behaviour to what the Blues men of the Deep South do when they relate their life experiences through the Blues.
There were no ready samples for “Baila” rhythms and they had to be edited to the nearest thing. However not all the rhythms of all the tracks reflect the “Baila Beat”. After the “Blues for Sri Lanka”, “For a Sea-Queen” and “Queenie”, the rhythmic patterns begin to differ, probably because trying to keep the rhythmic message basically the same but variable, is limited by editing facilities. However keeping the concept with memories of Sri Lanka in mind seemed to be the natural thing to do since the foundation of the music was laid.