3.1. Kandyan Beraya

The drum is an integral part of the Kandyan dance. It is believed that various drums were constructed on the direction given by several Gods. There is a sanctity attached to the drums and the drum beats.

The most important drum for the Kandyan dance is the Gata Bere. This drum is also used for all festive and ceremonial occasions in Sri Lanka and so can be known as Magul Bere as well. This drum is believed to have been made under the instructions of Maha Brahma - the Supreme God. 

The Berakanda (1) - cylinder of the drum is scooped out of a single block of wood reduced to a thickness of a quarter of an inch, the length being 27 inches and the circumference about 25 inches. The wood used for the drum is generally from Kohomba, Neem tree or Ehela, Golden Shower tree or Jack tree. The Bera Thattu (5) - two drum heads - are of two different kinds of skin; monkey skin on the right and ox skin on the left to give two different tones. 

The Vara Pota (2) - braces that are made of a single strip of deerskin are passed through loops.These are then tightened to provide the desired tension in tuning the drum. The covers used for the drum heads are discs of seasoned and beaten skin. 

Traditional Kandyan Drum - Geta Beraya with labels

Activity (Optional)
Watch making of Sri Lankan traditional drums (5mins) by clicking on the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVTjhi1LZzI

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