Arts That Matter Barefoot cafe Colombo

Most of the Colombo based Sri Lankan blogosphere must have been at the Arts That Matter (The Awakening). Perhaps that is why the SL blogosphere has been fairly quiet about the event – like revellers recovering from a very satisfyingly good bash.

Firstly for the those who weren’t there: it was a FUN, fantastic show. Despite a few babblers in the back, most of the crowd behaved themselves. 😉 Part of the fun was people watching – with a big slice of Colombo’s bohemian set on parade. Amidst the glance attracting attire, kids ran around freely clearing the air of arty pretences (then settled down when the show began). Thankfully the most interesting action was where it should be: on stage.

Dominic Johnpillai was the opening act which I thought was particularly brave. To put yourself out there and sing one of your own songs – without focus group testing – before a mostly unknown crowd. It was not my kind of music but his playing was surprisingly moving because it had an honesty refreshingly uncrippled by negative cynicism. Which I think is the important stuff in music – whatever it sounds like.

Nadro is a drumming out fit that ROCKED the house that night. To try and describe them with words would be an insult. Anyway I was and am dazzled wordless so all I can suggest you keep an eye out for their next gig. Clearly this is something Rhythmic Diaspora might be able to describe better had he been there.

Brandon Ingram certainly did have a tough act to follow after Nadro and pulled it off in style. I was initially leery of poetry recitals having cringed through enough open mike nights in my under-grad days. Brandon was nothing close to the stereotype of the open mike poet. Some of his poetry was angry painful stuff. But it was recited with a defiant smile that reminded me of the character he played in Chatroom not too long ago. The gloomy stuff was contrasted by humour, humanity and a uncompromising affirmation of the positive.

Which seems to be the unspoken theme that evening. Even when Marsh Dodanwela convincingly manifested the devil in his powerful style (admit it – the devil is the most likeable character in the play eh?). The speakers did strain but didn’t blow 🙂 . Barefoot I hope, has tolerant neighbours.

Then it was getting late and we had to flee. To wake up for the week of toil.

The overview about the “Arts That Matter” show mentioned during intermission has an interesting story of its own. Brings home the fact that facets of local culture are kept alive by people like those who put the show together, artists who braved the stage, and places like Barefoot that took the risk. And it must have been quite a risk. The least the rest of us can do is to show up, park considerately and behave mindfully. Which I think a majority of the crowd did.

With regards to parking: In case you run the risk of clogging up the lane leading to the Barefoot parking lot, try the next road side road off Galle road (ocean side – towards fort). I forget what its called. There is a bookshop called “Jaya Bookshop” or “Jeya Bookshop” (did I get the name right?) at the intersection.


Sosnazzy of “in between worlds” also has a take on the event – mentions the stuff that I missed.


6 thoughts on “Arts That Matter Barefoot cafe Colombo

  1. the barefoot bar is a noisy bar as most good bars are. and if the bar is open at a performance at barefoot the blabbers will be out if full force. thats not going to change.
    so performances(?) should be planned determined by this.
    simply, if peace and quiet is necessary for the performance, don’t open the bar. ofcourse bf like bar sales. also chomping of food and all that movement that entails getting the plates of fries is also very distracting. i have been at many performanaces at barefoot where the bar has been closed and the show has been undisturbed by blabbers os any sort. but the atmosphere we relished that night needed to have the bar open and the french fries selling like hot cakes, potato, what evr you call it. it’s a case of planning the programme. actually it was just the poetry that suffered. obviously the wrong choice for the programme. but fortunately the only wrong choice.


  2. Jay Got your point 🙂 The event needed the food and the drink (the fries were quite good). I thought the crowd did behave mindfully even with the bar open. Didn’t think any of the movement or babbling was distracting from the stuff on stage (people did quieten down when asked).


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