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CEEMP Conference | Sri Lankan Baila: the Composer's Musical Journeys



April 11th, 2019 | 16:00 | Anfiteatro João Branco | DeCA | Universidade Aveiro



This conference contextualises the composition of Chorus Baila, the postcolonial genre of music and song that swept the nation off its feet. By considering the life of the composer, Mervin Ollington Bastianz, a Sri Lankan policeman whose poetry and music united a multiethnic nation in a musical miscellany. The origins of Chorus Baila are interrogated through the life of the composer, his musical experiences and creativities. The word Baila conveys a Portuguese link and this presentation argues that the genre is not a carryover from the colonial past but an innovation that evolved at a historical moment, the island's independence, after four and a half centuries of colonial rule. Other genres that influenced the composition of bailawill be discussed in theorising on the diversity engulfed by this postcolonial genre which transcends ethnic, religious and age barriers.