Sunday, September 04, 2005


Dance+Music+Drama= Yakshagaana

Yaksha= Celestial being
Gaana= Music ( roughly)
On the whole, it is known as the music of the celestial beings.

Yakshagaana- supposed to be known as folk art of Karnataka. I do not know about how they have categorized this into folk art. But I think the reason could be that this art has been passed from generation to generation in person. There have been no books or any written material in this art.

Yakshagaana is always based on Mahabharatha and Ramayana. The costumes are one of the highlights of this art form.

The Yakshagaana artist has to be well versed not only in dance but also in music and dialogue delivery. The performance is kicked off with a prayer to Lord Ganesha. On the stage along with the artists, you can see a Bhaagavatha and instrumentalists. Bhaagavatha is a singer who narrates the story through his songs at regular intervals. The songs are mostly classical-based. The artists dance for the Bhaagavtha's songs and then expatiate the song through their dialogues. The dialogues are not written ones- so most of the times, the artists use their own dialogues. Hence the artist is supposed to have a mastery over the language also.

The Yakshagaana show goes on all through the night. It is a major entertainment for the people in villages mostly concentrated in North and South Kanara districts of Karnataka.

It is sad thing that very few people tend to learn Yakshagaana now mainly because of the financial aspect. Even though the artist puts in so much of hard work, he gets a very meagre payment. Hence most of the times, you will find that the artists hail from agricultural background families.

I do hope that this art will always be nurtured and protected. I do hope that more and more artists will be inspired and encouraged to continue Yakshagaana and keep us enthralled.

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