They’re beating the norms!
We sat down and chatted with the only all-female Sri Lankan drummer group, Thuryaa.
Q/ What is the biggest challenge you faced in making it in an industry which is completely new in Sri Lanka?
A/ We have been facing an array of challenges since we started. The initial challenge was to find potential drummers for the team as it was only me and my director, C.M.B.Sriyan Chandrasekara. pushing this entire idea forward.
The other struggle was making our mark in an industry where hardly any women go. The percussion industry is male-dominated, so to make our way here, we had to think up a different type of strategy. The plan was to create our own kind of art by mixing the thaal (music) system from Sri Lanka, India and the western side of the world.
Another tough milestone was money! Finding sponsors was a dreadful task for our first public show in 2015 at the University of Visual and Performing Arts but we didn’t let that stop us. So, we put our best voices out there and started singing on the trains so we could collect enough funds to build our dream. Believe it or not, we were able to collect Rs. 400,000, but it still wasn’t enough. Fortunately, my university was able to pool in the rest to make this happen.
Q/ What was the moment which made you very proud of your identity?
A/ The journey started to get even better when we got our initial award in India, at the 18th Global Female Folk Dance Competition in 2015. We were able to bag two first-place awards for competing in both dance and music.
After this, we had the privilege of being a part of the New Taipei City International Drum Arts Festival. Our group was overwhelmed to be a part of a global festival with so many countries like China, Russia, Japan, Bulgaria, etc.
Q/ Are there any more exciting things coming up in the future?
A/ This October, we will be leaving to Bangkok for a motivational show with participating countries including UK and USA. We’ve been chosen to perform for the main part of the ceremony.
Q/ Did you ever want to quit? How did the group get through it?
A/ The magic of our art comes to life only when there is enough synergy among us. There have been times where we’ve been pushed to the verge of giving up when the team spirit was not working well. I have not let that continue by individually talking to the concerned members so that I can identify their struggles and find a way to solve it. This has always worked and we’ve managed to avoid quitting and regrets!
Q/ Do you have any advice to women looking to follow a passion like yours?
A/ Don’t just dream; make it happen! Everyone out there, irrespective of their gender, should be able to mold their aspirations into reality with the help of a disciplined plan. Love what you do, and no matter how bad it gets, keep moving forward.
This article was originally published as ‘Beating The Norms’ in the September 2018 issue of Cosmopolitan Sri Lanka. For more career advice, grab a copy of our latest magazine.
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