Image courtesy of Booka Booka
In 2018, popular British-Norwegian EDM artist Alan Walker graced Sri Lanka for a performance. The country’s foremost alternative electronic music label Jambutek Recordings went to Berlin for a showcase. Burgeoning homegrown band The Soul crowdfunded their way to a tour across the Maldives. International heavyweights like Sébestien Léger and Guy J were booked for parties on the island. For what it’s worth, even Irish boy band Boyzone brought their final concert tour to the country, choosing the occasion to debut an entirely new song. Yet, just 10 years before that, Sri Lanka was trying to end its nearly 26 year-long civil war.
Image of Sunara playing at Pettah Interchange in Colombo. Image credit Malaka MP
Old-timey incarnations of record labels — glitz, glamour, big money and big exploitation — are great to watch in movies, but their relevance has diminished over the past two decades. The music industry, internationally, is in a perpetual state of rebuild. And so new ways forward emerge from time to time.
In South Asia, the young, independent, non-film music communities — the ones with roots in traditional western sounds — remain on the fringes of the mainstream, if at all. They’ve grown almost as countercultures, gradually finding some footing in the culture space of the region over the past decade or so, through dedicated ground work by artists and industry-persons. In such an environment, record labels no longer play traditional roles. Instead, there’s a coexistence of multiple bespoke approaches. What we get, really, are collectives — organisations that, depending on their scale and the interests of the people involved — work within loosely defined capacities within the industry. …
Image credit: Andrew Charles Edman
There’s a conceptual design to Sasha Perera’s sound. Here, the metaphysical form transforms into an architectural sonic unit: one that sustains emerging tonal patterns and unorthodox harmonies. You can often anticipate the non-sequitur in her sound collages. There are no linear narratives in her sonic movements. “Music is a reflection of our reality. It reflects what’s happening around us. It’s a conversation,” says the London-born, Berlin-based musician, producer and songwriter who goes by the moniker Perera Elsewhere.
Image credit: Royville Media
Fantasizing about a noise that could bludgeon an audience into submission, William Bennett from the band Whitehouse coined the term ‘power-electronics’ in the early 80s. The genre draws on static, screeching waves of feedback, analog synthesizers, warping sub-bass pulses and the high-frequency clamor of screamed vocals. Mostly harnessed through deep meditative improvisation, you could compare the process to spilling ink to see where it lands or furthermore setting the easel itself on fire.
Image Credit – Siddharth Kumar
Aditi Veena and Lakshya Dhungana were travelling around Nepal a couple of years ago, setting up impromptu audio-video busking performances for strangers. One of those happened to be outside a small shop selling momos. Veena, aka singer-songwriter Ditty, was playing songs from her new album, ‘Poetry Ceylon’, using not much more than a mic, a guitar, and an amp. Dhungana, a filmmaker, would put up a bedsheet and use her projector to show movies about Sri Lanka that she had made. This was Streets For Us, a project the two started back in 2016 when they were both living in Sri Lanka. Dhungana originally wanted to make a film about catcalling, but further conversations between the two led to this instead. …
Berlin Through The Eyes Of Nigel Perera: The People I Met Have Made A Huge Impact On My Views About Music & Life
“Music has always been my way of connecting with people. I often feel the most comfortable getting to know someone just by playing, listening to or making music with them. My first exposure to music as a child came from my parents. My school friends and I listened to Sinhalese pop music. Even though the local pop scene is a far cry from what I’m into now, I often revisit those tracks. I feel they have a certain quality which draws me to them even now. Not the songs as such rather certain details or moods that resonate with me, all these years later. I’ve gone through a lot of phases throughout my life — always trying to learn new things — but music is the only thing that has really stuck with me,” says Nigel Perera, a Colombo-based producer, DJ and visual artist whose influences draw from a broad range of funk, jazz, hip-hop and varied sub genres of electronic music.
This Friday will see the Border Movement Lounge host it’s ninth edition in Colombo in the Goethe-Institit’s cosy courtyard.
Many years ago, Nigel Perera used to be a mobile DJ in Negombo, Sri Lanka. He’d play events such as weddings or birthday parties. “I used to listen to the golden pop hits from the 80s back in the day; the stuff on the radio,” he says. He played at a pub in Negombo where he’d DJ commercial music, old classic rock, the works. He would push himself to find that balance between what kind of music worked for the audiences there and what gave him satisfaction. …
Since the program launched in 2015, Border Movement Residency has worked with over 10 artists creating residency experiences that are customised around the individual needs of artists. The aim of the program has always been to create meaningful and relevant creative exchanges between musicians in South Asia and Germany. …