A RARE PERFORMANCE TRADITIONAL YAKSHAGANA SHOW 
WITH A BIT OF INNOVATIVE EXPERIMENTAL TOUCH

KANNADA VRINDA of Houston arranged a unique cultural show by inviting YAKSHAGANA KALARANGA and SAMOOHA (of Udupi, Karnataka India) a Socio-Cultural Ensemble.

Artists from India gave a wonderful performance, which enthralled the audience. It was also an attractive sample demonstration of Yakshagana with different roles Rama, Sita, Laxmana, Shoorpanakha (demoness), Ravana the demon king of Lanka, Maya Shoorpanakha – the beautiful disguise of Shoorpanakha and Shabari the astute devotee of Lord Rama. The story line for the performance was Panchavati – a great epic in Yakshagana authored by Parti Subba.

Neelavara Mahabala Shetty, a veteran professional artist belonging to Maaranakatte troupe gave a ferocious appearance as Ravana. Murali Kadekar of Kalaranga – an organization striving for the uplift of professional Yakshagana artists did justice to the role of Rama. Madhava Acharya the director and choreographer depicted the evil feelings of Shoorpanakha. The troupe was well supported by Meena Aithala an artist of Kannada Vrinda in her attractive role as Maya Shoorpanakha. 

This rare and unique traditional folk show also showed the rich possibilities of Yakshagana theatre by adding the character of Shabari – an innocent pious devotee of Rama. In this part of performance the troupe adopted a famous poem of great Kannada poet – Late Sediyaapu Krishna Bhat to Yakshagana style. Bhramari Shivaprakash a well known Bharata Naatya dancer aptly played the role of Shabari. In this Yaksha – Bharata Sangama, the fusion her artistic movement, able footwork and expressions effectively demonstrated the innovative combination of classical dance and Yakshagana within the traditional framework of both forms.

Powerful and melodious singing by K. J. Ganesh and vibrating beats in percussion given by K. J. Krishna richly proved the success of the entire show. Krishna’s use of both Chende and Maddale with rhythmic effects received praise from the entire audience.

All in all it was a unique experience with artists demonstrating all aspects of Yakshagana in its original form. All Items of a traditional performance Abbara Taala – the first beats, Invocation of Lord Ganesha followed by Oddolaga – the royal entry of Rama and Laxmana were enacted in the show. Demon and Demoness rounded up the complete enactment of all Rasas (Moods) in the time allotted. The techniques of ballet were also effectively incorporated as Yaksha – Bharata Sangama.
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