Audio Foundation presents: Baliphonics NZ Tour 2018 – 19–29/04/2018

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baliphonics 02 Prasanna Rupathilaka
baliphonics 03 Issac Smith
baliphonics 04 Sumudi Suraweera
baliphonics 05 Susantha Rupathilaka
af webbaliphonics 02 Prasanna Rupathilakabaliphonics 03 Issac Smithbaliphonics 04 Sumudi Suraweerabaliphonics 05 Susantha Rupathilaka

Audio Foundation is pleased to present one Auckland concert for Sri Lanka’s BALIPHONICS at the Unitarian Church on Ponsonby Road. They will be joined by master of keyboards, Hermione Johnson, who will perform on the church’s unique 1904 stereophonic pipe organ. Full tour dates below.


Drawing upon a particular astrological healing ritual known as the ‘Bali Ritual’, the music of Baliphonics builds upon the profound and ecstatic ritual music of Sri Lankan culture, providing insight into this rich tradition in a contemporary context. In association with their 2018 New Zealand Tour, the Audio Foundation is proud to present an Auckland event for Baliphonics. Established in 2009, the unique Baliphonics quartet combine the yak bera (devil drum), drum set, and double bass with traditional ritual chant and dance, promises sonically and visually intense, visceral experience for audience members. The group’s latest recording transports listeners into a traditional past, while at the same time testifying to the fact that even age-old rituals, struggling to find a place in contemporary, globalised society, embody culture’s constant evolution.


“The experience felt both avant-garde and traditional. There are very few bands that bring traditional music in contemporary art without it being cliche or token. Baliphonics have managed to take a fading cultural ritual and give it new life and grounds for it to flourish and continue.”
– From ‘Baliphonics at the Goethe Institue, Colombo’ by Shafni Awam


Baliphonics are:

Prasanna Rupathilaka, a master traditional drummer, displays the free expressive nature of Sri Lankan drumming at its best, while joining his brother Susantha with chants and dance. Prasanna is a rare exponent of Sri Lankan traditional drumming in that he is equally experienced and established in both the contemporary music scene as well as the Sri Lankan upcountry and low country ritual forms.

Susantha Rupathilaka is also a well established traditional artist in Sri Lanka. Like his brother, Susantha has also been a member of the State Dance Ensemble, and is currently the only musician specializing in the area of traditional music at the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Cooperation.

On drum set, Sumudi Suraweera has established a deep and powerful approach to his playing, integrating the Sri Lankan ritual drum vocabulary via long-standing research into the traditions which underpin this music. In 2010, Sumudi attained a doctorate of Ethnomusicology from the University of Canterbury where his research focused on Sri Lankan Low-Country traditional drumming.

Issac Smith is a New Zealand born double bassist, sound artist and improviser whose extensive experience creating, performing and collaborating draws from an array of different aesthetic disciplines including dance, theatre and design. Smith’s sonic textures providing a rich counterpoint to the percussionists, forming a base for the raw and cathartic nature of Susantha’s transcendent chants.


Thursday 19 April @ Auckland Unitarian Church, 1a Ponsonby Road, doors open 8.00pm
Tickets available online at


Thursday 19 April @ Auckland Unitarian w/ Hermione Johnson, Auckland
Friday April 20 @ Pyramid Club, Wellington
Saturday 21 April @ Sri Lankan Community Centre, Wellington
Tuesday 24 April @ The Mussel Inn, Takaka
Wednesday 25 April @ The Mussel Inn, Takaka
Saturday 28 April @ UC Music Recital Room, Christchurch
Sunday 29 April @ the Anteroom w/ Emilie Smith, Dunedin