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Galle Concerto to Invigorate tourism

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The Presidential Secretariat, the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau and the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, together with the sponsors have announced the launch of Galle Concerto 2024 – the Southern Festivals, and its Handbook, in the week beginning  12th  January to the end of March 2024. 

The festivals, set against the backdrop of the rich heritage architecture and vibrant coastal charm of the Southern province, brings together a diverse array of writers, poets, intellectuals, literary enthusiasts, musicians, artists and celebrity chefs from around the world.

The Galle Concerto 2024 is launched under the auspices of President Ranil Wickremesinghe, with the support of the Office of the Presidential Envoy, Hon Niranjan Deva Aditya. Speaking at the launch Hon Niranjan Deva Aditya said “with its unique blend of cultural immersion and intellectual stimulation, the Galle Concerto including the famous  Galle Literary Festival has become a distinguished and much-anticipated event, drawing both local and international acclaim for its contribution to the global cultural landscape. This year, it will be more than just a literary comeback; the festivals will feature a wide range of events and performances, including several musical events, a food festival, modern art and a book exhibition, showcasing Sri Lanka’s rich cultural diversity”. He added ” these events show that Sri Lanka is resurgent once again, a beacon of confidence in her cultural, musical, literary and culinary excellence. HE the President worked tirelessly over last year to bring about this renaissance to showcase that Sri Lanka, in all her resplendence, is back on the world stage”.

Also present were Mr.Chalaka Gajabahu – Chairman  Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, Ms.Tracy Holsinger  – Galle Literary Festival,  Mr.Edward Robinson – Southern Book Fair , Ms.Chanchala Gunewardena – Matara Festival for the Arts, Mr.Nilupul Gunawardena – Rhythms of Paradise , Mrs.Champika De Silva – Opera at the Anantara , and Mr. Damitha Nikapota – Gourmet Galle, who spoke of their respective segments.

The Concerto comprises of the Rhythms of Paradise drum festival in Koggala (12th – 14th January), the Gourmet Galle Food Festival (12th January – 30th March), the Classical Music Event in Tangalle (19th – 21st January), the Southern Book Fair in Galle (19th – 28th January), the Galle Literary Festival (25th – 28th January), and the Matara Festival for the Arts (1st – 4th February)..
It will be the largest promotion of Sri Lanka’s music, culture, art and food ever undertaken, reaching out to a global audience, marketed throughout South Asia and the world.

Rhythms of Paradise, Koggala
Rhythms of Paradise Koggala (12th -14th January, 2024), is a celebration of Sri Lanka’s rhythmic heritage, uniting diverse drumming traditions to create a symphony that echoes through the night. The event will also include sessions on classical and contemporary Sri Lankan literature, natural and cultural heritage excursions and a Sri Lanka Maritime heritage exhibition. The opening celebration and drum festival will be held at the Koggala Air Force Base. Literary sessions will be held at the Martin Wickramasinghe Folk Museum. The Flagship event will conclude with a concert by internationally acclaimed Sri Lankan artists.

Gourmet Galle
Gourmet Galle will be a 12 week-long gourmet festival up and down the Southern coast of Sri Lanka. A partner to the incredibly successful Galle Literary Festival, Gourmet Galle will feature dinners, afternoon tea and master classes with thirteen amazing celebrity and world-renowned chefs along the Southern coast of Sri Lanka. The dinners will take place in exquisite homes and the finest boutique hotels, carefully curated to make each weekend its own unique and incredible event.

Opera at the Anantara
The Art and Music Weekend from the 19th – 21st January 2024 at Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle promises to curate an indelible ambiance of refined creativity and immersive experiences for discerning visitors and festival enthusiasts. This elevated occasion is poised to serve as a distinguished platform, harmonizing the expressions of local artists 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 2024
Parallel to the Galle Literary Festival, the Commonwealth Book Publishers Network will present the Southern Book Fair (19th to 28th January 2024). This event is designed to bring the joy of literature closer to the people of the Southern Province, fostering a culture of learning, sharing, and acquiring literary treasures.

Galle Literary Festival 2024
The Galle Literary Festival has now become an annual literary festival held in the historic coastal town of Galle.  It was first established in 2005 and has since become one of the most prominent literary events in the region. Over 65 renowned speakers, including Booker Prize winners, esteemed authors, poets and journalists will provide literature enthusiasts with a diverse and memorable experience. The festival will take place over several days and features a diverse program of events, including author talks, panel discussions, book launches, literary workshops, and cultural performances. The Galle Literary Festival will be held from the 25th to the 28th of January 2024, in partnership with Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB).  

Matara Festival for the Arts (MFA)
The inaugural Matara Festival for the Arts (MFA) sets the stage ablaze from the 1st to the 4th of February 2024! Set against the mesmerizing backdrop of the UNESCO-listed Matara Fort, this celebration promises an immersive experience in contemporary art and music, not just from the heart of Sri Lanka but resonating beyond its borders.

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Popular Indian singer Pankaj Udhas no more

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Popular ghazal and playback singer – Pankaj Udhas has passed away aged 72. 

The Udhas family confirmed his death on Monday was due to a prolonged illness.

Taking to Instagram, Pankaj Udhas’ daughter Nayaab shared a statement on Instagram which read, “With a heavy heart, we are saddened to inform you of the sad demise of Padmashri Pankaj Udhas on 26th February 2024 due to a prolonged illness.”

He had passed away around 11am at the Breach Candy hospital, Indian media reports citing a family source.

 His last rites will be held on Tuesday. 

Pankaj is survived by wife Farida Udhas, daughters Nayaab and Reva Udhas, and brothers Nirmal and Manhar Udhas, who are also singers.

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Laugfs Gas prices to remain unchanged too

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LAUGFS Gas PLC has also decided not to revise the prices of domestic LP gas cylinders for the month of February 2024.

Accordingly, the current prices are as follows:
12.5kg cylinder – Rs. 4,740 
5kg cylinder – Rs. 1,900

The announcement comes hours after Litro Gas Lanka stating that they will not revise gas prices this month.

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Actress Poonam Pandey passes away

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Actress and model Poonam Pandey has passed away last night (Feb. 01) due to cervical cancer at the age of 32, according to her team who posted the news of her death on her Instagram handle.

Poonam made her feature film debut with Nasha, an erotic drama that was released in 2013. She made cameo appearances in films such as Love Is Poison (Kannada) and Aa Gaya Hero (Hindi). The actress also headlined the Telugu movie Malini & Co and The Journey of Karma.

She was also part of the television reality competition series Lock Upp.

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