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Symphony of Culture: Galle’s Festival Extravaganza

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During the South Coast peak season of January through March of 2024, the Galle Concerto series gives impetus to a symphony of heritage and contemporary festivals in art, food, literature, and music. Leading Lankan and international culture makers will head the events – speaking, presenting and creating on topics pertinent and inspiring to Sri Lanka and the global momentum in 2024. The festivals are independently led, with the coming together of a Concerto of events – organised to amplify the positive economic and touristic impact of cultural programming to host communities and the country – being conceived by President Ranil Wickremesinghe and supported by the Presidential Secretariat, SLTPB and SLTDA, and other ministries and local governmental bodies.

Rhythms of Paradise, January 12 – 14, Koggala, @rhythmsofparadise&rhythmsofparadise.com

The concerto’s opening programme highlighted Sri Lanka’s rich cultural, maritime and natural heritage, focusing on drums, dance, classical and contemporary Sri Lankan literature, and biodiversity programming.

The three-day programme included literary explorations, interactive interludes, cultural events, cinematic chronicles, workshops, excursions and exhibitions. The opening celebration and cultural events were held at the Koggala Air Force Base, and literary sessions were held at the Martin Wickramasinghe Museum.

Gourmet Galle, January 13

– March 30, Galle, @gourmetgalle&gourmetgalle.com

From January through March, Gorumet Galle will curate exclusive dinners and masterclasses in exotic locations on Sri Lanka’s South Coast. Inspired by locally sourced ingredients, it celebrates Sri Lankan food and tourism. Star chefs from London, New York, Sydney, and Singapore include Darina Allen, O Tama Carey, Karan Gokani, Mark Hix, Peter Kuruwita, Jeremy Lee, James Lowe, Rishi Neleendra, Hari Nayak, Nisha Parmar, J Ryall, Cynthia Shanmugalingam, Mandy Yin.

Opera at the Anantara,

January 19 – 21, Tangalle, @anantaratangalle

Nestled amid the glorious beauty of pristine beaches at Anantara Peace Haven, the forthcoming art and music weekend promises to curate an unforgettable ambience of refined creativity and immersive experiences.

This elevated occasion is poised to serve as a distinguished platform, harmonising the expressions of local artistes such as the Gustav Mahler orchestra and Chrisni Mendis, and international musicians such as Jorge Echeagaray, Barbara Segal, and Carlos Conde-González showcasing their artistry and virtuosity.

Southern Book Fair, January 19 – 28, Galle, commonwealthpublishersnetwork.com

The inaugural Southern Book Fair marks a vibrant celebration of literature, expressing Sri Lanka’s cultural diversity, nurturing creativity and collaboration, and promoting innovation and accessibility.

Located in the heart of iconic Galle, the Southern Book Fair will offer a platform for publishers, editors, aspiring authors, and avid readers to develop new partnerships, fostering opportunities to celebrate our rich literary heritage and introducing contemporary works from diverse voices worldwide.

Galle Literary Festival, January 25 – 28, Galle, @gallelitfest&galleliteraryfestival.com

This January, the centuries-old UNESCO World Heritage Site, Galle Fort, will again come alive with the buzz of literary chatter. Since its launch in 2007, the Galle Literary Festival has become one of South Asia’s most anticipated arts and culture events. A favourite among authors and attendees alike, the Festival hosts various talks, workshops and exhibitions in an intimate, historic setting.

2024’s high-profile lineup will see the likes of Booker Prize-winning authors Shehan Karunatilake and DBC Pierre, decorated war correspondent Christina Lamb, and novelists Alexander McCall Smith and Anthony Horowitz, alongside 65 participants, championing the work of writers and poets, as well as giving space to painters, photographers and cinematographers. Through associated culinary events, the Festival also highlights the excellence of local and international chefs.

Matara Festival for the Arts (MFA), February 1 – 4, Matara, @MataraForArts

Matara Festival for the Arts is a coastal celebration of contemporary art & music from Sri Lanka and beyond, curated by leading contemporary artist Prof. Jagath Weerasinghe & music educator Dr.Sumudi Suraweera.

The Matara Fort, the University of Ruhuna, and the Matara River Park will host exhibitions, workshops & talks, a community market, a film screening by leading artists, notable speakers in arts and culture, and over 30 local vendors & artisans. Evening parties & events extend from Hiriketiya, Madiha, to Mirissa.

Its Independence Day concert will feature seven performers/bands – Amila Sanduruwan, Baliphonics, Orange Mango, Paloma, SDP ft. Paula, Rolex Rasathy, and The Soul,

The MFA’s programming partners include National Trust Sri Lanka, the George Keyt Foundation, and the Good Market.

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