Sri-Lankan Kaffir Music

Sri-Lankan Kaffir Music are the musical styles of Sri-Lankan Kaffirs and music styles heavily influence by Kaffir music. This include kaffrinha, Manha, and Baila. Kaffir music is also associated with the Burgher community (Sri Lankans of predominantly European/ Sri-Lankan extraction) music. 

Manha or Manja

Manha is probably the most traditional  of Kaffir music ,which recently has experience a revival ,largely based among Kaffirs of Sirambiyadiya near Puttalam. The music is poly-rhythmic with very few lyrics. It usually has 7 or less lines. These lines are typically repeated throughout a composition on top of percussive instruments. Percussive instruments used are tambourines, spoons, and coconut shells. It is usually played with 12 piece band. Manha usually starts with a slow rhythm and builds up to an ecstatic state, with dancing becoming more frenetic, with hips gyrating , hands and body swinging. It is usually sang in the Sri Lankan Portuguese Creole once the lingua franca.


Kaffrinha  is one of the earliest and traditional style of Kaffir music. It spread to other Sri Lankan communities during the 1800s and achieved its peak popularity. The term is from Portuguese meaning "a little African." It uses a 6/8 time. Beats are highly syncopated with two three beats in opposition. The music is very fast and joyous made for dancing.


Baila is the most popular form of Sri-Lankan music. Among the musical elites, it is not highly regarded due to its having a good time reputation usually while being intoxicated. Baila was derived from Kaffrinha. The style was created in the 1940s by Wally Bastiansz, of Sinhala and Dutch Burgher roots. Some say he made the Kaffrinha more lyrical. It is usually sang in Sinhalese. His style made use of spanish guitar and ukulele. In the 70s and 80s, MS Fernando added Rock & Roll elements like organs and electric guitars. Modern Baila makes use of a great quantity of synthesizers and drum machines. 

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