Dancers soaring high and lifting the hopes of people
Music was a fitting overture to evoke the re-awakening of performing
arts of Jaffna, Mannar and Vavuniya at Uthuru Vasanthaya (Vadakkin
Vasantham) Mega Cultural Show held at Sirimavo Bandaranaike Memorial
Exhibition Hall of BMICH on the evening of January 20.
A traditional kavadi dance
Violins, Veenas, Mirudhagums, Thabla, Morseng, Flute and Organ showed
off with a flourish Violinist Kalabooshana Radha Krishnen and his
nineteen instrumentalists in a delightful session of traditional music.
Music heralded the mega show awaited with bated breath by many who
wished to see the Tamil and Muslim schools and Performing Arts
Institutions of the Northern Province showing their multi-hued colours
after a lull of 30 years.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa graced the occasion as the chief guest
while other distinguished guests included Douglas Devananda and
Commanders of Army and Navy.
Another traditional dance sequence. Pictures by Ruwan de
Cultural and aesthetic identity is an essential aspect of social
life, mentioned Northern Province Governor Major Gen. G.A. Chandrasiri
in his address to the audience. We are building an environment in which
people will be able to pursue their own cherished cultural values and
traditions in the way they desire, being the brainchild of the show, he
made it clear.
Vasantha Nirthyam a mixed dance
"We were born naked. Later, multi colours coming from elsewhere made
us different. These differences caused a conflict. Now let us rally
around to comfort our ailing Motherland using our blood-spattered
hands," was a dance named 'Multi Colour Coats' taking to stage with
tribal fan fare. It revealed the futility of conflict and the importance
of raising to her feet our Motherland drenched with the blood of those
killing each other to assuage differences. Kalainilaa Performing Art of
Vavuniya presented the act.
The participation of the massive troupe of dancers of about 400 from
the North alone made the show worthwhile. Folk performances are usually
group acts. Another lively dance was "Paati Koothu, the war story of
King Paati and the three emperors of the lands Chera, Chola and Pandya.
Paati is on legend as one of the charitable kings in the sub-kingdom
The welcome dance
The show also had a Kavadi dance, a Tamil-Sinhala-Muslim-Burgher
mixed folk dance reviving agriculture, fishery and art, Spring dances,
Mannar folk dance mixing Bharath, Vapilai, Peacock and Shawl dances and
another dance produced by Kalasoori Arunthathy Sri Ranganathan bringing
together Bharatham, Kathakali, Odissi and contemporary styles. These
were among the repertoire of 16 items delighting the senses of audiences
thirsty for traditional performances originating from the North.
Bringing all the cultures and religions together
The cease of warring marks the rising of repressed traditions and
arts in the Northern Province. Spring has dawned for performing arts
which could not surface during hostilities raging in the now thankfully
spent past. This platform for Northern Province artistes to highlight
their talent and versatility could also afford them to carry their
performances overseas much like how their Southern counterparts had
done. What was on offer were very traditional songs and dances not
performed in that simple guise on a public stage for many years. This
cultural show was also a manner of linking the Northern people with the
Earliest footprints found!
A very important scientific discovery relating to evolution was made
recently in Poland. The earliest known footprints made by Earth's first
four-legged creatures have been unearthed by scientists.
Apparently, the fossilized tracks were left as further as 395 million
years ago by several primitive animals up to eight feet long.
The fossilised footprints and a diagram of tetrapods that
lived both in water and land before completely moving to
They are being hailed as a 'missing link' in one of evolution's most
spectacular transitions - the shift from water to land, which we all
learned in school.
The findings have stunned scientists because the footprints date to
18 million years before four-limbed vertebrates known as tetrapods were
known to have existed. Tetrapods, a group that includes humans, were
thought to have evolved from fish via an intermediate stage.
The tracks were found in the Holy Cross Mountains in south-eastern
Poland, one of the oldest ranges in Europe, and have a distinctive
'hand' and 'foot' shapes with no evidence of a dragging body.
The lack of a body drag is explained by the fact the creatures were
still floating in the water while walking on the muddy bottom.
Palaeontologist Dr Philippe Janvier, of the National Natural History
Museum in Paris, said the tracks 'show the first tetrapods thrived in
the sea, trampling the mud of coral-reef lagoons.'
'This is at odds with the long-held view that river deltas and lakes
were the necessary environments for the transition from water to land
during vertebrate evolution,' he also added.
- Chamari Senanayake