There are various types
of traditional drums.
The most important is the classic Kandyan drum, the geta bera
Literally “boss drum” is a double-headed drum, measuring exactly 67cm
(26in) long, slightly bigger in the middle than at the ends. The drum is
suspended from the player’s waist by a piece of rope and played with
both hands. Different skins are used for the two drum heads (monkey or
goat on one side, for example, and cow on the other) to produce
Sri Lankan drummers are usually deployed in ensembles (hewisi) of
anything between three and, in the largest festivals, 50 performers.
Kandyan drumming is distinguished by its frequent sudden changes of
tempo and highly irregular rhythmic patterns which ebb and flow in a
series of percussive onslaughts – the almost telepathic coordination
displayed by the members of top drum groups during performances can seem