e-ISSN: 2625-378X
p-ISSN: 2701-2689


Keeping the Tradition Alive: Analysing the Work of C. De S. Kulatillake

Kamani Samarasinghe

ASIAN-EUROPEAN MUSIC RESEARCH JOURNAL 11 (2023)     pp: 39-48     2023-06-23
Keeping the Tradition Alive: Analysing the Work of C. De S. Kulatillake

Stichworte/keywords: Cyril de Silva Kulatillake, Sri Lankan ethnomusicologist, Sri Lanka, Music tradition, Preservation

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Samarasinghe, K. (2023). Keeping the Tradition Alive: Analysing the Work of C. De S. Kulatillake. ASIAN-EUROPEAN MUSIC RESEARCH JOURNAL, 11 , 39-48. doi:10.30819/aemr.11-3
doi = {10.30819/aemr.11-3},
url = {},
year = 2023,
publisher = {Logos Verlag Berlin},
volume = {11},
pages = {39-48},
author = {Kamani Samarasinghe},
title = {Keeping the Tradition Alive: Analysing the Work of C. De S. Kulatillake},

The present review focuses on the vision, philosophy, and methodology of C. de S. Kulatillake’s exemplary contribution to the subject. The methodology of this study is based on a qualitative approach narrative method, and information was collected through interviews, records, autobiographies, and various reports and books written by Kulatillake. Seven in-depth semistructured interviews were carried out at the University of the Visual and Performing Arts, Colombo 07, Sri Lanka, in September and November 2022. The participants were senior academic members and a scientific officer at C. de S. Kulatillake Research Centre. As a sampling method, nonprobability purposive sampling was used. The data were evaluated using content analysis. Kulatillake has always approached folk music from a scientific standpoint, linking it to ethnomusicology. He discovered 36 indigenous singing styles unique to Sri Lanka. According to Kulatillake, the Sri Lankan double-read instrument horanewa is a West Asian migrant. The individuality of Sinhala drum music, its peculiar rhythms that do not match the Indian “tal” systems, and Sinhala drum music is an incredibly remarkable performance style incomplete sentence. He discovered that the strange aspect of the visama nadi (irregular pulse) movement in Sri Lankan drum music is a unique style and should be accepted as a great feature inherited from the folk music of this country. Kulatillake traced cultural identity and pride; documented, taught, and presented it to national and international audiences; and preserved it for future generations, according to the study. A separate study focusing on trailblazers who used music education as a safeguarding measure would be a worthwhile investigation that would both enrich and broaden the findings of this study.
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