9. April 2024,
5 minutes read

Explore Sri Lanka culture: from dance to music

Dance in Sri Lanka

Welcome to Sri Lanka, an island rich in cultural traditions and the art of dance. Traditional dances in Sri Lanka have a long history and play an important role in Sri Lankan culture. Each dance has its own unique characteristics and history, reflecting the richness and diversity of the Sri Lankan people.

Traditional dances in Sri Lanka are full of energy and tell stories and legends. Each movement and gesture is carefully chosen and crafted to express emotion and evoke excitement in the audience. The dancers not only perform acrobatic elements and hand movements but also wear beautiful costumes that complete the overall impression.

Join the thousands of enthusiastic spectators who have already discovered the magic of Sri Lankan dance art. When visiting Sri Lanka, be sure to attend a traditional dance performance that will bring home the beauty and richness of Sri Lankan culture.

Kandyan dance is considered one of the most famous and popular traditional dances in Sri Lanka. This energetic and dramatic dance is based on ancient Buddhist rituals and legends. The dancers express different emotions and stories through lively movements and elegant costumes. Kandyan Dance is also accompanied by traditional music, which adds another dimension to the whole performance.

Low Country Dance: Stories and Legends in Motion

Low Country Dance is another interesting traditional dance in Sri Lanka. This dance is known for its ability to tell stories and legends through body movement. The dancers express emotions and tell stories about the history and culture of Sri Lanka through their movement. Each gesture and each step has its own meaning and contributes to the overall narrative. Low Country Dance is a unique way of combining the art of dance, music and storytelling.

Sabaragamuwa Dance: Masks and Buddhist Myths

Sabaragamuwa Dance is another traditional dance in Sri Lanka that stands out for its masks and performance of Buddhist myths. The dancers wear colourful masks that depict characters from Buddhist stories and myths. Each mask has its own symbolic meanings and is associated with certain stories. The Sabaragamuwa Dance is therefore a unique way to connect art, culture and religion in Sri Lanka.

Music in Sri Lanka

In the second part of this article I will focus on music in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka boasts a rich musical tradition that encompasses a variety of genres and styles. Sri Lankan music is as diverse as its dance. Music is always present at religious ceremonies, weddings and other social events. There are three main forms of Sri Lankan music:

Classical music

Classicalmusic has deep roots in association with cultural and religious festivals, as well as the daily life of the locals. Due to the diversity of ethnic groups in Sri Lanka, there is also a variety of musical instruments used in traditional musical performances. Traditional instruments such as the ‘thammattama’ drum, the ‘rabana’ percussion instrument and the ‘bansuri’ flute are often used in Sri Lankan musical productions. These instruments have become part of Sri Lanka’s cultural identity and contribute to the authenticity of classical music on the island.

Folk music

In addition to classical music, Sri Lanka also has a rich folk music. Folk songs often tell stories about life in Sri Lanka, depict the contrasts of the island and express the emotions of the people. This music is passed down from generation to generation and encompasses different styles and genres that are unique to each region of Sri Lanka. Folk music is often accompanied by traditional instruments such as drums, flutes and stringed instruments.

Modern music

Modern music is a blend of traditional and Western music. Popular genres among young people are pop, rock, hip hop and reggae. These young people grew up at a time when Western musical influences were coming to Sri Lanka. These influences have blended with traditional Sri Lankan music to create a unique and innovative music scene.

Sri Lanka hosts a number of festivals and cultural events each year where visitors can enjoy authentic Sri Lankan dance and music. Whether you are a lover of traditional or modern music and dance, you are sure to experience something unique and fascinating in Sri Lanka.


What are the most famous traditional dances in Sri Lanka?

There are several traditional dances in Sri Lanka that are popular and well known. Some of the most famous ones are Kandyan Dance, Low Country Dance and Sabaragamuwa Dance.

What are the characteristics of Kandyan dance?

Kandyan dance is energetic and dramatic. It is inspired by ancient Buddhist rituals and legends and is known for its lively movements and elegant costumes. Dancers often perform acrobatic elements and express various emotions and stories through hand movements.

What is the significance of Low Country dance in Sri Lanka?

Low Country dance is meant to tell stories and legends through movement. It is associated with cultural traditions and religious festivals in Sri Lanka.

What is the specific element of Sabaragamuwa dance?

Sabaragamuwa dance is characterized by the use of masks and narrates Buddhist myths and legends. This dance is a reflection of Sri Lanka’s rich culture and is a popular performance art.

What is traditional Sri Lankan music?

Traditional Sri Lankan music is associated with cultural and religious festivals and also with the daily life of the people. It includes different genres and styles and is accompanied by traditional musical instruments such as percussion and flute.

What instruments are used in traditional Sri Lankan music?

Due to the diversity of ethnic groups in Sri Lanka, there is a rich variety of musical instruments. Among the most popular are the percussion, flute, tambourine and other traditional instruments that contribute to creating an authentic Sri Lankan musical experience.

What is a thammattama?

A thammattama is a flat drum with two sides. Unlike other traditional Sri Lankan drums, which are played by striking the sides of the instrument, the drummer strikes both upper surfaces of the drum with mallets.


Be inspired by our blog and discover the magic of Sri Lanka. Here you will find tips for trips, recipes for Sri Lankan specialities, advice for tourists and much more.

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