Sri Lankan folk songs..

Sri Lankan folk songs which is known as “JANA GEE”  or “JANA KAVI” has been originated during our olden times by our Sinhalese ancestors.These Sinhalese villagers used to sing these folk songs while they used to work in paddy fields specially in the night, and plumbago mines and also while rowing boats, while transporting goods in bullock carts.These folk songs were spontaneous feelings which arose in the villagers simple minds, which explained their tiredness and interest in work and so on… Even the mothers used to sing lullabies for their children to sleep. All these ideas and words came from their hearts. Jana Gee (folk songs) has played an important role in the cultural development of the Sri  Lankan society. Jana Gee was also an extension of our Sinhalese language, it had the ability of expressing emotions and feelings that couldn’t be told just in words.Folk music represents a higher emotion we all have towards our cultural heritage, our collective history and our land where our forefathers were born and nourished. Sri Lankan folk poems were always unique.
Each class had its own styles.  There were also folk rituals, which are rarely performed today. Among the traditional Sri Lankan folk styles we could find an interesting style called “”Virindu”. It is an improvised poem sung  to the beat of a Rabana (hand drum). In the past there were contests in which two Virindu singers used to compete each other, where one asks questions in Virindu form and the other used to answer it in Virindu form. The words of these  traditional songs and poems were carried from generation to generation as in other cultures. Today, they are sung as a form of cultural expression.

“Onchili waram”- another type of Folk songs which is sung when people go on the swing. These songs were sung by females mostly and have been handed to us by our forefathers. As I have mentioned before, people who used to transport goods from village to village had their own style which was known as “ Karaththa Kavi”…whereas the people who row boats had their own which was known as “Paaru Kavi”.

“Siw pada” which has the meaning called four lines, were short folk poems which included four lines. The ancient villagers were capable enough of expressing his/her innermost feelings in touchy ways which touched people’s hearts. The voice of these unknown poets are now memories in our dying culture.

During this long journey of time, our folk music has been influenced by the prevailing nature of the political climate, under different kings of Sri Lanka, due to our close proximity to India we have also got a lot of foreign influences. The four and a half centuries of colonial domination has also influenced our culture. Nevertheless, we have been able to maintain the purity of our Jana Gee.

I have been encouraged to create this web site to give an opportunity to the present generation of children to familiarize themselves with these beautiful folk songs which are fading away from us. Today the Internet is the most popular medium of exchanging information. When I was thinking about this subject, first I decided to search and get more information regarding Sri Lankan Folk songs through the Internet. But there were no web sites to get original audio tracks with folk poems. All audio tracks were with some music, drums violins and other sounds, some were directly recorded by stage performances where as some were recorded from television programs. My need was to hear the audio tracks of original folk songs (poems) which were sung by villagers. But I could not find any web site with the real voice of old villagers, elderly persons or with our own folk tones of folk poems. Folk songs and poems could be narrated and sung without the need of any musical instrument, because, our old people did not sing these poems with any background music. That’s why I recorded all folk poems without music. I went to villages, and spoke with elderly people and visited libraries to gather more information about the beauty of the true Sri Lankan Folk songs and I have also recorded their  voices with their own native styles of singing folk songs.To make the people listen to the beautiful folk songs with the original melody and the exact way it should be sung, I have recorded the voice of a Sri Lankan artist with the talent of singing folk songs specially for this web site.I have also produced two 1hour programs in Video form including discussions and i have uploaded them on you tube and on my site as well, with the hope of educating the younger generation and the people interested. They get the opportunity of learning the nativeness of each category of folk songs and how they are sung.

Our villagers enjoy  remembering  their beautiful and interesting past memories and speak about them. Specially the younger generation appreciates these kind of programs. They are also excited in exploring our own history, cultural heritage and our language using the Internet. It is useful for  new beginners to enter  this new e-world through our mother language specially using Unicode Sinhala fonts.

I have assembled all the voice tracks and uploaded them on You Tube. My creation is a sole collection of original Sinhala folk songs and poems on You Tube. My main aim is to provide correct information and educate the present  and future generations who have lost the chance of knowing  these beautiful folk songs and poems and to preserve them in the Internet.   
හෙළ ජන ගී බිහිවූ අයුරුත්, ඒවා එදා පටන් අද දක්වා පවත්වාගෙන ඒමේදී ඇතිවූ වෙනස් කම්ද විස්තර කරමින්, හෙළ ජන ගී ගායනා කළ යුතු නිසි ස්වර, තාල යනාදිය ශාස්ත්‍රීය ලෙස විස්තර කෙරෙන අපූරු සාකච්ඡාවකි මෙය. ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ අග්‍රගණ්‍ය ජනගී ගායිකාවක වන දිමිත්‍රා රත්නායක මහත්මිය හෙළ ජන ගී වෙබ් අඩවිය වෙනුවෙන්ම මෙම සාකච්ඡාවට සහභාගි විය. ඇය ජන ගී මෙන්ම, විරිදු,නූර්ති ගී ගායිකාවක ලෙස ද සරල ගී ගායිකාවක ලෙසින් ද ප්‍රකටය.