Sri Lankan Rock band in the heart of Beirut!


The OVERSEAS ENSEMBLE Performance (project preview)

Ilaria Lupo initiated a collaboration between Paed Conca and Sarigama – a band of non-professional musicians from Sri Lanka who migrated to work in Lebanon. 

They work by day and rehearse at night – in a basement rented out from an Asian shop in the suburb neighborhood of Jounieh, Beirut, where they set up their studio. During three months of rehearsals, Conca and Sarigama created a demo album that was born from an experimental research on the Sinhala Baila. Baila’s origins can be traced in a merging of Portuguese and African music – a hybrid of Western melodic system, and asymmetric and cross rhythms. It was introduced in Sri Lanka at the colonial period (along with Kaffrinha), and developed after the independence, to become an essentially local music – with godfather figures such as Wally Bastainsz and M S Fernando. The album’s rearrangements explore deconstructions of format, rhythm, duration, fusion of genres, connecting with wider processes of blending and their historical roots.

The project’s dynamic questions such processes through the lens of cultural production. Due to a restrictive legal frame, in Lebanon Sri Lankan contemporary forms of music develop in underground circles only. This is part of the liquid geographies of the ‘non-official’ diffusion of culture. The band’s engagement with music research testifies of a process of participation in the local scene – even if an invisible one. It resists legal bans, but also the crystallized forms of cultural representation in the context in which these musicians operate. The project aims to provide it with a space to unfold, exploring new possible configurations.

Conca and Sarigama will perform The overseas ensemble live on the occasion of the album’slaunch.

Paed Conca is a musician and composer based in Beirut, working in Lebanon and internationally. Among other projects, in 2006 he founded PRAED, with artist Raed Yassin. PRAED works on the connection of the Arabic folk shaabi and the traditional mouled ritual music, with genres such as free jazz, space jazz, and psychedelic rock. The duo deconstructs and re-elaborates the hypnotic effect as common ground at the source of them.
Ilaria Lupo is a Beirut-based visual artist. She develops a public space practice through site-specific projects and interventions. Her process-based work aims to infiltrate social dynamics by navigating different spheres and formats, questioning the boundaries of artistic practices.

The album The overseas ensemble is supported by Radio Beirut.

Join the event next Wednesday 11th at Beirut Art Center.
All event details here!

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