Verbal Communication Through Folk Songs: A Study Based on Sri Lankan Folk Music


Folk songs reflect the identity of a culture. Genre of Sri Lankan folk songs is significant in passing down culture to generations through oral tradition. The composer was uninhibited and frank. The spontaneous verses were stand-alone works bearing structural variations and were instructional. Those songs varied from work to recreation while adding rhythm to manual tasks. The objective of the study was to identify how those songs have been used for communication purposes based on wording and melody and what aspects the songs convey in different contexts. A sample of thirty songs was categorized based on profession, beliefs and recreation. Data were gathered through audio recordings, literature and resource personals. Sri Lanka being an agriculture-based country; folk songs were mostly associated with paddy and Chena cultivation. Agricultural work was a collective endeavour of both men and women. These impromptu songs were not mere monotony breakers, but a method to perform certain tasks with consistency and evenness while communicating with the fellow workers. The other professions like boating, mining, cart riding and collecting honey are equally notable. Similarly, songs based on chanting at thovil rites (curing by mental remedies) where the black magician communicates with demons and spirits are crucial. Communication embedded in folk songs to articulate youthful love, lullabies, and teens singing at play to build up companionship, can be categorized under leisure and recreation. The study concludes that folk songs were used as a creative and effective medium of communication at a time sophisticated technology was unimagined.

Author Information
Saumya Batuwatta, University of Ruhuna, Sri Lanka
Anoma Satharasinghe, Open University of Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka

Paper Information
Conference: ACCS2019
Stream: Cultural Studies

This paper is part of the ACCS2019 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon