Over 50 million - yes 50 million views on YouTube!

“Manike Mage Hithe” - this could be the tune that you can’t get out of your head this Autumn.

It has already had over fifty million views on Youtube by the 25th August 2021.

Maybe this is the hit song that we will associate as the easing of the restrictions of the global pandemic?

Rap in Sinhala

The Sinhala song features Sri Lankan female singer Yohani De Silva and rapper Chamath Satheesan and was originally produced in July 2020 by Chamath Sangeeth.

It became vastly popular in India, Bangladesh, The Middle East and the Maldives because of its’ melodious tune and rap in Sinhala.

It has become so popular that it has been released in both Malayalam and Tamil and the tunes’ popularity is spreading to other continents.

Rap has a good following in Sri Lanka.

UK based Sri Lankan comedian Romesh Ranganathan is well known for his love of Rap and Hip Hop. 

He hosts a Podcast “Hip Hop Saved My Life” and he also had a “Rap Battle” when he visited Colombo during his successful television series “Asian Provocateur”.

Sri Lanka has three official languages, Sinhala, Tamil and English

The first popular Hip Hop artists in Sri Lanka to be recognised were Brown Boogie Nation (You Get Around, Lions and Tigers) and Rude Boy Republic in the late 1990’s. Urban Sound released “Gangsta Raps” and “Smooth Flow” in 1998. Their “Stop the Virus” won an award for Best TV Campaign on HIV awareness from a local broadcasting institute.

Tamil Rap started in 2004 by the successful “J Town Story” by Krishan Maheson and the first Sinhala Rap track by Iraj. 

Sri Lankan American DeLon debuted at no. 36 in the Billboard Charts with Nasty Girl.

The youngest Sri Lankan Artists to be signed to an international record label (Sony India) were Ranidu Lankage and Ashanthi. 

“Kelle” was successful in being featured on the BBC Asian Chart. 

Popular local artists Bathiya and Santhush and Randhir worked together on a hip hop remix song “Siri Sangabodhi”

Sri Lankan Rap has become a stalwart of the music culture in the country over the last twenty years or so.    

What does “Manike Mage Hithe” mean?

A straight translation of the words are
Mage – My

Hithe – Heart

Manike – Derived from Manika which is a diamond. Manike later became a pet name between men and women for a partner like “honey”, “love”, “dear” or in this instance “gem”.

Manike Mage Hithe therefore translates to “Gem in my Heart”, however I have also seen translations of the song lyric as “Baby in my Heart”

The song is a beautiful enrapturing melodic serenade of forbidden love referencing passion and desire.

Other popular music in Sri Lanka to explore.

The earliest form of music came via the theatre when traditional open-air dramas, known as Kolam, Sokari and Nagadam in Sinhala.

The first music album was released by Radio Ceylon in 1903 and was called Nurthi.
During the 1960’s Indian Films (now Bollywood) has a significant influence on Sri Lankan music and subsequently artists such as Sunil Shantha found popularity and success in India.

Songwriters that gained widespread success include Ananda Smarakoon and Mahatma Sekara.

Other notable artists to dive into would include Milton Mallawarachchi, MS Fernando, Clarence Wijewardene, WD Amaradeva, Annesley Malewana and HR Jothipala.

It is worth researching the following types of music to understand what has influenced the development of music in the Country.

Traditional Folk Music

Ragadiri Music – Hindustani Classical Music
Karnataka Music – South Indian Classical Music

Tamil and Hindustani Film Music 

Baila and Saralagee

After Independence of the Country in 1948 there was rise in popularity of both Baila and Saralagee music

Saralagee music was attractive to the middle class and elite whereas Baila was popular amongst the lower class.

It is almost unheard of to go to a wedding or dance without hearing Baila.

Baila derived from the Portuguese song style called Baile or Bailo which translates to dance in both Portuguese and Spanish. 

Make your own music at Glenmyu Estate, Haputale

If you are searching for inspiration a stay in the Sri Lankan Hill Country may be the thing for you.

Glenmyu Estate is located in five acres in the beautiful hills of Sri Lanka, surrounded by natures views and sounds.

GlenMyu Estate
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