We had been to a Yakshagana concert recently held at ‘Taralabalu Kendra’ in Bangalore. It was the first time I was going to be a spectator to a unique folk performance that I had heard so much about from my father in law, that I went prepared with my camera.
‘Yakshagana’ is Karnataka’s folk theatre form with a long history of close to 400 years. It is a harmony of musical tradition, eye-catching costumes, authentic styles of dance and acting with its extemporaneous dialogue appealing to a wide range of the community. When you witness it in person, it is a vibrant and a vigorous form of theatre art. It is unique to the Malenadu or the coastal regions of Karnataka, India.
Costume: Male artists wear kireeTa while the female artists wear pagaDe (headgears) that are very unique and artistic.
Stage setup: The play has a narator who either narrates the story by singing or through character dialogues backed by musicians on the traditional music instruments.
Theme: More often than not, small stories from the Indian epics such as Mahabharata and Ramayana are enacted.
Here are some glimses from the concert.
Krishna & Subhadra
I was completely engrossed by the performance and got to learn more Mahabharata. Appears that the concerts take place all through the night and the audience are kept entertained throughout. I now know why my father in law likes Yakshagana so much 🙂
With Yakshagana’s gaining popularity, it has begun to be compared to the opera of the west!