3.2. Berava Drummers

The Berava caste, from which the performers of the Kohomba Kankariya have traditionally been drawn, is the largest of the service castes of the Sri Lankan Kandyan Sinhala people.Traditionally, they were drummers for ritual services in Buddhist temples and deity shrines, and even to this day some Berava can be seen performing these ritual duties in Sri Lanka. In addition to their ritual skills as dancers and drummers, some Berava were also well-known astrologers and folk healers - well versed in herbal and Ayurvedic medicine. 

The Kandyan (up-country) Berava distinguish themselves from the Low-country Berava, whose ritual traditions, dance and music are very different. It was widely believed by the older generations of the Kandyan Berava that they were superior to the Low-country Berava. This is because, unlike the Low-country ritualists - whose rituals focused on appeasing the lowly, malevolent Yakkas (demons), the Kandyan Berava performed in rituals for the Gods. 

In the olden days, the drummers would manufacture their own drums, to their own measurements of three spans and three fingers in length. Now, a group of artisans' come together to create the drums.

Kandyan dancers accompanied by Kandyan Drummers

The Gata Beraya would be placed in a particular stance in a comfortable position to the drummer, feet slightly apart, knees bent and played with his bare hands.

Activity (Optional):
Watch and learn more about Sri Lankan Ayurvedic medicine by following the link: https://www.open.edu/openlearncreate/course/view.php?id=5544 

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