How Two Girls from Sri Lanka’s Plantation Slums Went From Dropping Out of School to Passing on Their Love of Learning

 

As you drive past the lush green plantations of Hatton, known for its Ceylon tea, you can’t help but roll down your windows to smell the tea leaves wavering in the fresh air and gaze at the rolling landscape around you. You might see the smiling faces of the tea pluckers, many of whom live in crowded conditions on the estates. In spite of the beauty surrounding them and tea being one of the Sri Lanka’s most profitable cash crops, families who work on the estates are among the nation’s poorest, with one in three children classified as underweight and 40 percent of babies born with extremely low weight.

“These disadvantaged children often grow up to be disadvantaged fathers and mothers,” said Ranjani, a social mobilizer, or mentor, in Room to Read Sri Lanka’s Girls’ Education Program. “In most cases, the girls drop out of school and marry young because their families can no longer provide for them.”

Four years ago, best friends Prashanthi and Mogandashi, both raised in the “line-room” slums of Hatton’s tea estates, faced a similar fate. At 14 years old they had to drop out of school to help their families survive and didn’t have much more to look forward to than an early marriage. But what happens when girls like Prashanthi and Mogandashi are given a chance at education and the support they need to finish school?

Girls’ Education Program alumnae and best friends Prashanthi and Mogandashi walk home together. Inspired to pass on what they learned, the 18-year-olds began tutoring children living in the line-room slums.

Prashanthi’s father, a tea plucker who earned less than two dollars a day, died when she was four years old and her mother lost her ability to walk soon after. “I was a school dropout. I did not understand why we should study and I did not have the money to go to school anyway,” said Prashanthi, who is now 18. “It was important I stay at home and take care of my mother while my brother worked on the plantation.”

When Ranjani heard Prashanthi had stopped going to school she began visiting her at home. “Ranjani wouldn’t let me drop out,” said Prashanthi. “She would come to my home several days a week and just talk with me. She was persistent in the most sisterly way and her encouragement was inspiring.” In 2009 Prashanthi returned to school and joined Room to Read’s Girls’ Education Program.

The program, which helps ensure girls can stay in school and complete their secondary education, provided Prashanthi with funding for transportation, pens, books, and even meals, as well as life skills education and continued support from Ranjani. Five years later Prashanthi graduated from school and is hoping to start at the university next year. “Throughout the program, Room to Read helped me realize the value of education, how it could help me help my family. It was a difficult time for me,” Prashanthi said through her tears, “but I did it!”

Prashanthi’s best friend Mogandashi also had to drop out of school when her family could no longer afford it. Mogandashi’s mother is a tea plucker and her father works as a laborer in Colombo where he struggles to earn a living for the family. “My father works very hard and we rarely get to see him,” Mogandashi said as she wiped her tears. “We barely have enough money to eat and the little money he earns he sends to us.

Just as with Prashanthi, Ranjani began visiting Mogandashi at home to convince her to return to school as a Room to Read’s Girls’ Education Program participant.

Room to Read came into my life and provided the support I needed,” said Mogandashi. “My life changed.” Mogandashi is now a proud graduate of secondary school and is determined to go to university next year to become a bank manager.

In only four years, Prashanthi and Mogandashi went from being 14-year-old drop outs to the first in their families to graduate secondary school. Today they are creating a better life for their families and a better way for their communities by passing on their love of learning.

The good news is that Prashanthi and Mogandashi are far from being outliers. Educating girls has an empowering effect on their communities because girls reinvest their knowledge and income back into their families and communities, helping to bring an end to poverty for themselves and for the world.

This is why we are thankful for partners such as Café Kumbuk who are #ActiveforEducation with us! Join us. Educate girls. Make a difference.

 

SUPERFOODS FOR SUPERBODIES

Bee Pollen is made by honeybees, and is the food of the young bee. It is considered one of natures most nourishing foods as it contains nearly all nutrients required by humans. Bee-gathered pollen are rich in proteins (approximately 40% protein), free amino acids, vitamins - including B-complex, and folic acid. Bee Pollen is one ingredient we have found hard to source here in Sri Lanka; but when we travel we bring back little batches, which we use to top off our Peanut Butter Granola bowl at both Café Kumbuk and Kumbuk Kitchen.

Chia Seeds are plant proteins that contain all the essential amino acids, as well as essential fatty acids and minerals such as magnesium. For a very long time Aztecs and Mayans used chia seeds to increase energy levels during hunting. We also use ‘kasa kasa’ or basil seeds, which are considered a superfood similar to chia with even more health benefits and fewer calories. We use both chia seeds and basil seeds in our Kumbuk Homemade Superseed Jars and our Kopi Fix smoothie – both available at Café Kumbuk.

Raw Cacao has more than 300 nutritional compounds and is one of the richest sources of antioxidants of any food on the planet. We use raw cacao in most of our pastry items, in our chocolate sauce that will soon be available for purchase by the jar and also in our Pick Me Up smoothie.

Coconut Water having super hydrating qualities is often loved by athletes. It’s loaded with calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc, selenium, iodine, sulfur, manganese, boron, molybdenum, ascorbic acid and B group vitamins – making it a fantastic electrolyte drink. Coconut water, known as ‘thambili’ in Sri Lanka, forms the base for most of our smoothies at both Café Kumbuk and Kumbuk Kitchen.

Turmeric otherwise known as ‘kaha’ here is a blood purifier and is beneficial for many different health conditions ranging from cancer to Alzheimer’s disease to hepatitis and more. It also equalizes blood sugar levels and heals stomach cramps and indigestion. Health studies have also shown that turmeric can be three times more effective at easing pain than aspirin. We use turmeric bread in our Avo Toast breakfast dish, in our Vietnamese Fried Rice on our Saturday dinner menu and in the sauce that goes on our Pan Fried Salmon on the Café Kumbuk lunch menu.

Raw Honey is considered a holy food. In general, honey is good for the health of the throat, lungs, liver, chest and especially the blood. Honey, when used topically, is a powerful wound healer. Honey de-natures at high heat, which makes it toxic to the body. Its best to always purchase raw honey for this reason and never heat it in cooking.

Coconut Oil Vs. Palm Oil

First we must understand both products: the coconut is an important member of the family Arecacaeae (palm family); Palm oil is from the African oil palm. Coconut oil is extracted from the kernel or meat of matured coconut, harvested from the coconut palm. Not to be confused with coconut oil, Palm oil is extracted from the pulp of the fruit.

Renewable Source – when coconuts are used, it is considerably easy to replace them. Coconut trees can grow in almost any kind of soil, even in sandy soils on the seashore. More so, they live and bear fruit for up to more than 60 years. It is considered a “three-generational tree” which can support a farmer, his children and his grandchildren. Coconut oil is regarded as a renewable resource, which can be grown again unlike fossil and mineral raw materials such as crude oil, coals etc. whose occurrence is limited and finite.

Healthiest oil on the planet – Many people find it hard to believe that a fatty food could be so good for you, but coconut oil is one of the healthiest oils on the planet. It consists of 90+% raw saturated fats: a rare and important building block of every cell in our human body.

AMMA Sri Lanka – mother made, naturally dyed textiles. Handcrafted in the Sri Lankan highlands.

 
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Here we talk to the couple behind AMMA Sri Lanka - about their project here in Sri Lanka and their plans for the future.

1) Hey guys, tell me a little about yourselves!

I grew up between London and Wales, thinking about it now it was the perfect balance between city and coast. Once I had the chance, I was back to London for university where I studied Textile Design at Central Saint Martins. I specialized in weaving, and spent a lot of time in the dye room experimenting with colors - dyeing yarn to use in my work. Understanding the time and dedication that goes into producing a piece of fabric has given me a new respect for how our clothes are made and the people who make them. I have always been interested in the social aspect of textiles, and how ancient skills like weaving or natural dyeing can be revived and harnessed to create sustainable employment. 

2) How did AMMA Sri Lanka come about? What made you guys move to Sri Lanka?

I first came to Sri Lanka in 2010, which massively influenced my decision to study textiles. I was really inspired by the colors, texture and vibrancy, it was the first time I thought about textiles' place in the world and how fundamental it is to both Sri Lankan heritage and also its economy. 

I have a friend who helps direct a charity called Child Action Lanka, which is based in Kandy. Once i finished university she mentioned that CAL were looking to start various social enterprises to help generate income and rely less on outside funding... and if there was anyway I could start something amongst the mothers focused on textiles that would be great! So myself and my husband visited in 2016 to see if the Sri Lankan lifestyle would work for us... and it (mostly) did!

3) Your website says 'Mother Made' so who are these mothers? Where do they live and how did you get involved with them?

Yes, the best bit! We welcomed two mothers into the workshop last week 'Priyadarshani' who's 23 and 'Chandraleka, 29. Both drop their daughters off at the CAL pre-school, then come downstairs to work with us 9.30am - 12.30am, before collecting them once school is finished. They live on the local tea estates. Its Priyadarshani's first job, but she's picking everything up really quickly and Chandraleka used to be a nurse before having her daughter. The way we work celebrates motherhood, and makes space for them to earn a fair wage and learn new skills whilst also getting quality time with their little ones. 

4) You guys got in touch with Cafe Kumbuk and asked for us to keep aside any avocado stones that we have - what do you do with the stones?

Avocado stones are a great source of natural dye, I started to experiment with them in the UK but was limited as their expensive to buy - so working with you guys is a total dream. Avocado stones are high in tannins which means they produce dyes with good color fastness, you can also use the skins but these are harder to transport and store. 

Once I've collected the stones from you, I soak them until the brown outer layer comes away - this reveals a beautiful orange/peachy color on the inside. I have found the best way to store the stones is to dry them out, this also deepens the color and richness of the dye. Once black marks start to appear i place them in a saucepan, cover with water and gently boil to release the color. Out of all the dyes we use avocado takes the most time to develop. I've also found it one of the trickiest to get consistent (I'm still working on it) as water quality and acidity plays a big role. It takes around 2 hours simmering and another hour the next day to extract the full color once this is done you can add the yarn or cloth - we tend to do this in a bucket off the heat as it saves energy but you can do either. 

If you interested in learning more about avocado dyes take a look at rebeccadesnos.com I’ve learnt pretty much everything about avocados from her! 

5) What other foods do you use to extract colour? How did you learn how to extract colour?

We use carrot tops, onion skins, tea waste and pomegranate skins plus some plants like eucalyptus, madder and chamomile, I'm always on the look out for local dye plants next on my list is marigold flowers, bracken fern and indigo. 

I learnt how to extract color at university, its very similar to making tea - the tricky bit is adapting to the changes in each plant. I regret not concentrating in chemistry because its all to do with the water PH. Lots of trial and error, even more so now we are trying to do it on a larger scale. Sometimes something just doesn’t work how you expect - but its nature, its unpredictable. 

6) What are the next steps for AMMA?

A few different things, we are working with some local brands who are interested in using naturally dyed materials in their designs this is a really exciting challenge for us and good opportunity to train our mothers up on the job. 

We also want to start developing our own range, we don't know exactly what this will look like - but we have been so encouraged by people’s reactions to the little steps we have taken so far, its great to see people valuing a more sustainable eco friendly way of dyeing.

 

KINETIC FITNESS MOVEMENT – A WORKOUT THAT WORKS.

 

I was finding it quite tricky to find a class that works for me! I wanted trainers that would keep me inspired and motivated. I also wanted a workout that would leave me feeling exhausted but also incredibly good. I found all the above in Tanuja and Hasithas Kinetic Fitness classes. I was curious to find out what her fitness motivations are and how she stays on track – which I personally find quite tough to do!

Tanuja started her career as a trainer in 2010 when she got her personal training license from Premiere Fitness in London, UK. She then went on to work with an exclusive gym called Gymbox before moving on to train artists from the TV show The X Factor (UK). She grew up in London, spent a few years in New York and is now living in Sri Lanka. We are certainly lucky to have her! Apart from fitness, if you haven’t heard her already – Tanuja is an incredible singer.

1) Tanuja were you always interested in working in the fitness industry? What inspired you to get into personal training?

I was always an athletic person and enjoyed competitive sports and sprinting. However what lead me to becoming a trainer was losing my father and brother at a young age. I hit an all time low and used physical training to help me out of what then seemed like a black hole of depression. The training literally changed my life and I decided at that point I wanted to help other people to live to their full potential. I went back to school, re educated myself and have never looked back.

2) What is the mission of Kinetic Fitness?

Our mission at Kinetic fitness is not simply helping people to get muscles and get fit.  We are trying to help people to achieve a feeling of overall wellness. We use a number of resistance training systems as well as yoga, meditation and pranayama and dietary consultation to help you to understand how these things are all connected and when used in coincidence will help you to achieve an all around feeling of wellbeing. Most importantly no matter at what point you are in life it is never too late to start and become the best version of yourself. 

3) I saw you in the studio boxing the hell out of your partner the other day haha! What is your personal favourite workout? What is effective for your body?

I personally have a number of different ways that I workout and I feel this keeps me most balanced. I try to do a little yoga and meditation everyday as this really helps me to stay focused and connected and helps to release a lot of the tightness I have, which helps me with my other training.  On certain days I lift weights, on others I do TRX training and then sometimes I love to box. 

4) They say getting fit is 80% diet and 20% exercise - do you agree? Is there anything specific one should cut out to achieve their body goals?

I agree that diet plays a huge roll but I do also feel that working out is essential not only for physical but for mental wellbeing. I personally think sugar in all its forms carbs, sweets, booze should be reduced in order to keep bodyfat low. I also don't think it is good to eat red meat in huge quantities. A lot of people are getting on this paleo diet thinking they need to eat their body weight in red meat and this makes them healthy. But I think there are a lot of health risks involved in eating in this way especially cholesterol and heat disease. I think loading up on the veggies and lean organic chicken and fish as well as beans and pulses as forms of protein are far more sustainable over your life. 

5) How do you stay motivated? On hangover days its the toughest thing in the world for me to pull myself out of bed and get to the gym - do you find yourself having days like this and how do you combat it?

I stay motivated because working out not only makes me look good but also feel good. Hangover days are tough but getting a good sweat on post drinking binge works wonders. But if you don't make it out to the gym on some days don't beat your self up. We are all human. 

6) If you're working hard to achieve your fitness goals - do you think cheat days set you back?

Cheat days don't set you back. They are essential for your physiological wellbeing. If you were constantly not allowing yourself to eat the things you love you will end up falling off the wagon and gorging yourself. If you eat healthily the majority of the time and allow yourself a day where you eat what you want you are more likely to stay on track and sustain it over your life. But don't cheat a little every day. Pick a day and stick to it.

7) Whats one piece of advice you could give to women who are not happy with their body shape and size?

The one thing I would say to anyone who is unhappy with their body is change it. Your muscles and body are dumb. You are in control and as soon as you make the decision to start working out and eating properly your body composition will change. If you want some advice on how to do that then come to Kinetic fitness. 

8) Recently you did your Quantum Yoga training - what exactly is it and how does it differ to other forms?

I recently did the quantum yoga teacher training course. Quantum yoga is different because it uses Ayurvedic assessment to help you through your practice. I first help you determine your dominant dosha (body/mind composition). In quantum yoga there are certain sequences that help bring the doshas into balance. 

There are a number of classes daily at The Kinetic Studio inside the Prana Lounge. You can get updates about the classes by checking their website at kineticfitnessmovement.com or @kineticfitmove on Instagram as well as pranalounge.lk. They’ve got plenty of new fun classes starting in May like THUMP (boxing class) and Quantum Yoga! See you guys there.

 

KAVAN BALASURIYA: My Fine Art Friend

 

Kavan and I got to know each other when we were schooling here in Colombo prior to those ever so important angst teen years. Since I’ve known him he’s always been drawn towards making art. He studied Fine Art at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design in London; after completing a Foundation course in Art & Design he moved onto the Fine Art Bachelor’s degree at CSM’s then new campus in Granary Square, Kings Cross. Here he shares his thoughts with me on his move back to Sri Lanka, his collection of silkscreen prints (one of which is hanging at Café Kumbuk) and the growing arts scene in Sri Lanka.

1) As long as I’ve known you I don’t think I have ever really asked you you’re your artistic journey really began? When did you actively start putting pen/pencil/paint to paper?

I've been scrawling all over the walls of my house ever since I could. Being an artist is an answer I have always given as I've grown up. It is a bit weird, considering I didn't leave much room for anything else. 

2) Cheers for contributing one of your silkscreen prints to the café wall Kavan! It totally fits the space. What was your inspiration for this particular collection?

The collection of silkscreen prints contributed to the cafe is titled as Contact. It's about the physical process of creating colour combinations on the paper surface. Each resultant layer, although premeditated, has an element of unpredictability to it. I attribute feelings evoked in the Contact series as akin to the physiological experience of another person, be it simply to brush past the arm of another, or to wholly realise them. To interpret those moments and present them as a memory. The first print matched the colour palette of the cafe. 

3) When we were graduating from London and figuring out our next moves I remember you were debating whether to move to Berlin or not. What was it that made you move back to Colombo?

I felt the need to change my circumstance and live in the space and difference of opportunity that a place like Colombo - home - could provide. It's been quite fruitful being here and I am happy to have made that decision. But I think it's good to keep on the move. Considering it again. It's also been interesting to use this time as a chance to try different things by putting certain content out there that has been made in different places, to observe and consider reception and build upon that.

4) Yeah I think keeping things on the move allows you to become re-inspired – which is a beautiful thing. How do you observe the Sri Lankan fine art scene? Is there a lot of new talent coming through?

Contemporary art in Sri Lanka has been growing at a steady rate with many young practitioners speaking about a range of relevant topics through different styles and mediums. Most of the upcoming talent are young voices who have a lot of say, and it's good to note the players on the main stage are doing all they can to help bring about progressive change.

5) What are you currently working on?

I'm trying to diversify my practice, so I'm experimenting with graphic and fine arts. 

Can’t wait to see what you come out with next!

If you’re interested in seeing more of Kavan’s work then follow his Instagram handle @studio.bala

 

Chef John – On Cooking and Kumbuk

 

Six months ago I was approached by a young chap called John who was in Sri Lanka on holiday about to return to a job in Dubai. On our very first meeting at the café we discussed his previous work experience and decided that he could help us craft a menu or two whilst here.

Needless to say, what started as a quick project turned into a full time job, we simply couldn’t let him go! John has helped us to turn the Café Kumbuk menu around, plating up food we enjoy and love to share. He crafted and created the veggie vegan menu at Kumbuk Kitchen – supporting the opening team like the superhero he is.

You’ll often see him on his bike, cycling between both cafes with supplies under one arm. Here he chats to us on cooking and Kumbuk.

1. Give us a little rundown of your culinary work experience and why you chose to move back to Sri Lanka?

I am a Chef with 6 years of experience in the Hotel industry. Previously I had worked for the Hilton Hotel Chain both in Sri Lanka as well as in Dubai. During this time I had the opportunity to work for 10 plus restaurants spanning across 4 Hilton Hotel properties as well as being able to represent Sri Lanka for culinary competitions in France and China.

I had been on holiday in Sri Lanka after ending my time in the Hotel industry and I was originally planning to head back to Dubai to work for an independent restaurant as part of their opening team. During this time I had come to see Sri Lanka in a new light: one with an abundance of local produce to work with and a country slowly trying to re-invent its culinary scene. I wanted to be a part of it and took a leap of faith and moved back to Sri Lanka

2) What first sparked your interest to be a chef?

Even after completing my basic culinary training at 17 and being able to train further as an apprentice Chef. I still was not convinced I wanted to be a Chef. It was only when my apprenticeship had led me to work in a fine dining restaurant that I was convinced. The amount of respect shown to ingredients ,the dedication given to each dish and the adrenaline filled atmosphere during dinner service was all part of why I wanted to continue being a Chef

3) What’s your favourite local ingredient to work with and why?

Honestly everything! There are so many amazing ingredients to work with in Sri Lanka. It really is hard to pick just one but a current favourite of mine is Polos (Baby Jackfruit). Shana and myself had experimented on making a mock "pulled pork" and it turned out better than we had expected!

4) How does the restaurant/café scene in Dubai compare to Sri Lanka?

Dubai is Dubai. Hotels, Restaurants and Cafes have carte blanche on the food trends. Picnic style brunches on rooftop gardens to the simple hole-in-the-wall burger joints.Dubai has it all and are ready to cater to all.

In Sri Lanka, restaurants and cafes have one problem in common. Simple ingredients become expensive and difficult to get a hold of and so we are not ready as a tourism promoting country to cater to everyones needs. I hope this changes in the near future.

Apart from this I think many establishments have worked their way around such issues by providing local alternatives to international products thereby creating a somewhat unique tropical inspired food culture. 

5)  What is it about Café Kumbuk that initially drew you to it?

I had approached a few cafes and restaurants for work and Cafe Kumbuk (Shana) was the first to reply. I liked the ambiance of the cafe: simple and rustic. Shana knows her food and this makes it easier as a Chef when creating new menus. I thought this was the perfect setting for me to start from.

6) What is it about the Café Kumbuk menu that’s different to what other cafes are offering up in Colombo?

We try to make at least 90 percent of whats on the plate to be locally sourced. The food is healthy but also tasty and sourcing ingredients locally when and where we can allows us to serve food that is reasonably priced and very filling. We take food inspirations from around the world and we want to translate these dishes using local produce and make our menu as unique as possible. 

7) What’s the next step for Café Kumbuk?

Currently we are working on opening for dinner and we are looking forward to the coming months when we get to re-invent our menu.

 

Ten Tracks we're feeling this April

 

1. SEND YO' RITA by MASEGO

Masego is a saxophonist that’s able to play pretty much any other instrument put in front of him. If that wasn’t enough – he also sings, raps and produces. The music he makes teeters in a world of sounds that aren’t restricted to any one genre. His track ‘Send Yo’ Rita’ strikes the perfect balance between overbearing and faint trap influences. It’s bound to bring back those 02’ feels due to the JT Senorita sample. The sax solo on the track is sex, my only complaint is I wish there was more of it.

Jazz fusion maestro Stephen Bruner aka Thundercat (underrated and under-listened to) brings the fire on his album ‘Drunk’. He contributed extensively to Kendrick’s 2015 ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’ and last years ‘Untitled Unmastered’. Now Kendrick lends his talents to Thundercats ‘Walk On By’. On the track Cat pleads for his partner to stay and work through their relationship woes. In true Kendrick fashion, later he surfaces with a mellowed out flow about sins, condolences and death. It ain’t as morbid as it sounds, trust.

3. IN THE MIDST OF IT ALL by TOM MISCH FT. SAM WILLS

Undoubtedly one of my all time favourite tracks by Tom Misch - dubbed one of the UK’s most exciting producers. He initially gained attention for his ‘Beat Tape 1’, a collection of J Dilla inspired tracks he put online which gained A LOT of attention. In 2015 he dropped his ‘Beat Tape 2’ – heavy on the collaborations offering up a concoction of neo-soul and hip hop influenced tracks. This track ‘In The Midst Of It All’ although incredibly mellow is super capable of seducing bodies onto the dance-floor. It’s the perfect blend of pop and jazz and along with Sam Wills silky sweet vocals its a track you can’t shake off in a hurry.

4. REDBONE (SLOWED TO A CRAWL) by CHILDISH GAMBINO

Love the original Redbone by Childish Gambino, here I’ve shared the Redbone slowed to crawl - which I think I love even more. It’s a full blown funk slow jam of love, lust, reconciliation and wokeness. Donald Glover continues to reign supreme.

5. WHY ARE THERE BOUNDARIES by FKJ

Put any instrument in front of FKJ and he’ll work his magic. In ‘Why Are There Boundaries’ FKJ keeps it uber mellow with his smooth like peanut butter vocals layered over what sounds like an old school RnB instrumental, infused with jazz guitar and other rhythmic elements. You can’t help but close your eyes and bop to a track like this – it’s got a hell of a lot of heart! What I love most about this track – its honesty.

6. THE TRACKS OF MY TEARS by SMOKEY ROBINSON

An oldie but a goodie! A song written by Smokey Robinson, Pete Moore and Marve Tarplin in 1965. Another super honest track – talking of love, loss and longing. We’ve all been there – it’s a track easy to relate to. ‘Take a good look at my face, you’ll see my smile looks out of place, if you look a little bit closer, it’s easy to trace the tracks of my tears.’

7. CRANES by SOLANGE

“What ‘Cranes’ reveals is that time doesn’t heal all wounds, but instead you learn to live with the gashes. Solange’s voice is soothing, a balmy dressing for the lacerations. But she’s letting you know there will still be scars. It’s a song that reminds you that there is an ‘it’ you carry around, that you don’t always get the answers and that you don’t always get closure” – What Solange does so well on this track is to strike a balance between joyous and melancholy. There’s loss and there’s victory. - OKAYPLAYER

8. WHAT IF I GO? by MURA MASA

This song and video gives me an overwhelming sense of nostalgia – Headphones on, on the DLR heading out from Limehouse. Every single time. Bonzai’s lovely lyrics and soothing vocals blend perfectly with MM’s unique sound of organic and synthetic instruments. Throw in steel drums and squelching synths, you’ve got yourself a delicious cocktail of a track to sip on. Super in love with their tracks ‘Lovesick’ and ‘Firefly’ do give em a listen.

9. HISTORY LESSON BY NICOLAS JAAR

“The music on “History Lesson” is almost laughably gentle at first, and Jaar employs a trick favored by both John Lennon (“Run for Your Life”) and Paul McCartney (“Maxwell’s Silver Hammer”), juxtaposing inviting music with disturbing lyrics. Here’s how his history lesson starts: “Chapter one: We fucked up/Chapter two: We did it again, and again, and again, and again/Chapter three: We didn’t say sorry.” And so on. The words are a harsh rebuke of any political system. But the music is tender. And the track is bleak and funny, and naïve and wise, and political and personal. It feels like everything all at once. It feels like Sirens.” – PITCHFORK

10. LATE NIGHT by GOLDLINK FT. MASEGO

Goldlink and Masego make fire together on the track ‘Late Night’. This track in particular I feel gives off a Frank Ocean-esque vibe. My only complaint – Goldlink tracks are too short, need more more more!

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I know it says top ten but here’s one for the road. A track that I will never ever tire of. It’s some real funky shit not to be taken lightly. Andre 3000 and Big Bois story telling skills are outta this world this track in particular deserves a gold medal. Thank you Outkast.

...SPOTTIEOTTIEDOPALISCIOUS by OUTKAST

You’ll hear these beauties on the Café Kumbuk playlists from time to time. We’ve got plenty more where that came from. Stay tuned.

 

Featured On: Jungle Shakti

We were recently featured on Jungle Shakti blog! Here's a sneak peek:

"As soon as I walked into the courtyard Cafe Kumbuk, I felt instantly relaxed – and not just because I knew my hunt for ripe avocado was over! It's a calming space away from the hustle and bustle of Colombo, and it just has that indescribable "vibe" that made me feel at home – must be something to do with the fusion of Australian, European and Sri Lankan influences brought to the space by it's creator, Shana Dandeniya. Or maybe the Shakti just flows over from Prana Lounge next door? 

Born in Australia, brought up in England and having lived in Sri Lanka, Shana's unique 'melting pot' of experiences have helped to shape her very own downtown café-space in the heart of Colombo. And it really is quite unique. I was so delighted to find sanctuary (of both spirit and stomach!) here in Sri Lanka's capital."

Read the full article here...

Featured On: EAT.lk

We were recently featured on Eat.lk, here's the story:

"Whizzing past the busy streets of Colombo we tend to find a range of restaurants, bistro’s and cafes! But walking down Horton’s place and just inside the very aesthetic Prana Lounge you find yourself an organic health oriented café – Café Kumbuk. 

Getting your hands on fresh, local, seasonal produce is always a bummer in Sri Lanka but not at Kumbuk! We’re talking about an inviting atmosphere, where you can simply unwind, read a book on a lazy afternoon and simply enjoy the company of loved ones with incredible dishes and the fresh breeze of Colombo. (yep no Air conditioners you artificial humans)."

Read the full article here...

Featured On: Sunshine Stories

We were recently featured on Sunshine Stories blog:

"If you’re looking for a place to have lunch or a “fika” in Colombo check out Café Kumbuk. I’ve been following them on instagram for a while and was excited to see the place in real life. I had the prawn risotto, and it was really, really good. Petter went for the sea bass, which was good but not as wow! as the prawn risotto. We’re on a sugar free diet at the moment but their cakes looked like a dream and their drip coffee was superb too! Next time I’ll come for their breakfast menu that looks insane.

And oh, they’re in the same beautiful old building as Prana Lounge – a beautiful yoga studio. Drop in yoga class + a green juice, yum!

Colombo is bubbling of new restaurants and things to do at the moment. We have asked our friend and Colombo girl Shakthi aka Island Adventurist to write us a Colombo guide. Stay tuned!"

Read the full article here...