Friday, July 21, 2006

Sri Lankan Flavours

A few weeks ago I went to the Sri Lankan literature thing at Foyle's, one of London's oldest and most renowned bookshops. One of the many books I bought was a cookbook called Sri Lankan Flavours by Channa Dassanayake.

The recipes sound so delicious that I can virtually smell the food as I read and the photography is imaginative and colourful, so much better than many Sri Lankan cookery books I have seen, with their grainy images of lace tablecloths and those "salads" of tomatoes and cucumber arranged around some fried chicken.

The many pictures are not only of food but also of Sri Lanka and Sri Lankan life. I am quite fond of loads of pictures of food anyway, but these other ones just make the book even better. On most of the pages there is a bit of text about an aspect of Sri Lankan life. It may be a short piece about gem pits or an article about the joys of roadside eating houses but it's all fascinating and makes for a superb book either as a working recipe book or as a coffee table item.

One of the paragraphs reads as follows:

"Keeping the beat

In traditional Sri Lankan culture, drums are used in festivals, ceremonies.......

.......young men take apprenticeships as eastern drummers or enter the world of music by following in their father's footsteps.....

.......Young drummers follow their gurus, or teachers......How long it takes to receive the blessing depends on their talent and personality."

This grabbed me. It grabbed me so much that I have now quoted from a book for the first time in my life. I'm not sure what the procedure is now. Do I track down the author to seek permission in writing to use his words? Do I contact his publisher to get permission? Do I just go ahead and quote him, with the assumption that all will be ok as I am saying nice things about his work?

I haven't got the faintest. So apologies if I've crossed boundaries that I shouldn't have, but it's all been done with good intentions, in fact, shedloads of good intentions. Also, I wasn't sure where to put the dots in the quote. I am starting to wish I had paid more attention to English at school. Feck.

My point is this. I am a Sri Lankan and I am a drummer. I was taught and inspired by my father, well inspired. But somehow I don't think the author was thinking of geezers like me who play in funk and rock / pop covers bands and kick out Chili Peppers songs on a Saturday night down the local pub.

Still, the idea is a nice one.

Oh, buy the book too. It's great.

I have to go now. I've got to finish learning "I predict a riot" before Saturday's gig.

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