Baliphonics is a profound and ecstatic insight into the ritual music of Sri Lanka in a contemporary context. Their music draws upon a particular astrological healing ritual known as the Bali Ritual, stemming from the Southern and Western regions of Sri Lanka.
Currently, the group performs both as a quartet as well as a trio. Quartet performances are the most powerful with two percussionists and two dancers at times. The unique quartet instrumentation of yak bera (devil drum), drum set, and double bass in combination with traditional ritual chant and dance makes the Baliphonics performances an intense and visceral experience. Prasanna, a master traditional drummer, displays the free expressive nature of Sri Lankan drumming at its best while joining his brother Susantha with chants and dance. On drum set, Sumudi has established a deep and powerful approach to his playing, integrating the Sri Lankan ritual drum vocabulary via long-standing research on this traditional music. The percussionists form the base for the raw, cathartic nature of Susantha’s transcendent chants which intertwine the deep, rich counterpoint and sonic textures of Isaac’s double bass playing.
The group’s latest recording was made as a trio with Susantha, Isaac and Sumudi in January 2017.
Baliphonics communicates the energy of an age-old ritual which struggles to find its place in a globalized, modern, contemporary society and transforms and transports us in the moment and into the past.