“Bailatronic” which was organized by the Rotaract Club of Colombo East was held on the 30th of August at “The Embazzy Bistro” rooftop, from 6.30 p.m onwards. The night was ruled by “Baila” music which is arguably one of the most popular forms of Sri Lankan music enjoyed by all regardless of age, gender, language, caste, creed or religion – Just like how Rotaract unites us all in service.

The Secretary making us wonder about the song being played while the
President is being in her element as usual

Hold on! So have you ever thought about how this party music originated?
Here’s the story of “Baila” in short. – It has its roots in Portuguese folk music styles and is found in Sri Lanka today as a hybrid of styles – Portuguese folk music, African rhythms and even some Spanish music styles. Baila in Portuguese means “to dance” and is thought to have emerged in the 16th century due to Portuguese Colonists.

It’s also said that it was Sri Lanka’s Kaffir community who developed Baila in to a form of music. Their origins trace back to Portuguese traders, soldiers and African slaves who married the local Sinhalese. The Kaffirs whose history exists predominantly in the form of stories and songs, were originally known for two styles of music – the “Chicote” and the “Kaffrinha.” Kaffrinha was the forerunner to Baila due to its fast pace that is evocative of Spanish flamenco or Caribbean calypso. In comparsion to Kaffrinha, Chicote is more ballad-like and slower. However, Kaffrinha is also sometimes called Baila.


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Back to “Bailatronic”!

The band “Watalappan” kick started the event with their twist of classic toe-tapping beats and energetic vocals of band member Rtr. Minura Halwathura from the Rotaract Club of Colombo West.

Rtr. Minura Halwathura

“Watalappan” in action

Here’s a list of just a few songs that definitely rocked the crowd, as “Watalappan” took care of the first session. (It’s time you updated your party music list if these are not there!)

  1. Adare hithenava dakkama
  2. Issara Kale Patan (The one that goes “Nanana naa naa, nanana na naa” in the middle)
  3. Ada Wessanthara Raja Putha
  4. Kello kollo mey degollo
  5. Pol katu hande mita wage
  6. Lankavata baila gena Wally Bastian
    Fun Fact: Baila was little known outside the Kaffir community until the 1960’s till Wally Bastian, a traffic policeman who also played in the Police marching band, started popularising it in his personal performances. He composed Baila songs with Sinhalese lyrics and he introduced a chorus-format. Within a few years he was joined by two other singers – M. S. Fernando and Maxwell Mendis, who began performing Baila at public events and functions. Therefore he is considered to be the pioneer of Baila in SriLanka.
  7. Muhude Yamu Masun Maranna
  8. Yanna Rata Wate Enna Ma Priye
  9. Yami Pain Yami (Nai, Nai//)
  10. Udarata Niliya Hadawage
  11. Lunu Dehi
  12. Piti kotapan noney- (Well, that ended with “watalappan oneh”)
  13. Api denna ekweela
    (And, the list goes on..!)

The crowd enjoying the night

The 2nd session was taken over by the band “Sugar” who started off with the quintessential Sri Lankan Party Rock Anthem – “Sumihiri Paaney”! Their line-up included all-time favourites like “Gedara hitapu Rosa, Lorenzo and Apith ekka oba awoth” etc. Although not categorized as Baila, the well-known song “Liyathambara” got the crowd to keep grooving with the same energy and hence kept the momentum going strong! A fun-filled night of catchy tunes and epic moves came to an end with a classic crowd favourite – “Master Sir”. Although not in line with the theme of the event, it interestingly created the perfect ending to the night where we danced our troubles away.

“Sugar” rocking the crowd

Typical Baila dance moves that remind one of
JehanR’s “How to Dance Baila” video

The memories of this night of fellowship and fun which brought together both Rotaractors and Non-Rotaractors from all over the country shall remain as vivid as the sarongs and lungis we were clad in.
Kudos! to our comrades from the Rotaract Club of Colombo East for organizing such an amazing event that was a real stress buster and was Lankan to the last drop indeed!

Image Courtesy: Impulse Inc

Written By: 


Rtr. Shehani Leo
( President – 2019/20 )

Rtr. Aloka Weerawardane
( Co-Editor – 2019/20 )

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