FOLK DANCES OF INDIA – YAKSHAGANA
Yakshagana Folk Dance is a musical theater popular in the coastal and Malenadu regions of Karnataka State, India. Yakshagana is the recent 200 Years scholastic name for what are known as “dasavatara”(Ten Avatars). It is believed to have evolved from pre classical music and theatre during Bhakti movement. Yakshagana is popular in the districts of Uttara Kannada, Udupi, Dakshina Kannada and Shimoga of Karnataka and Kasaragod district of Kerala. Yakshagana is gaining popularity in Bangalore since a few years.
Yakshagana consists of a himmela ‘background music group’ and a mummela ‘dance with dialog group’ which together perform Yakshagana poetry. Himmela consist of a bhagawata ‘singer’ who is also the director maddale, harmonium for drone (pungi was used earlier) and chande (loud drums). The music is based on Carnatic ragas characterised by melodic patterns called Mattu and Yakshagana Tala. Yakshagana Tal are believed to be based on patterns which later evolved into Carnatic talas.
Yakshagana Tala are frameworks for rhythms in Yakshagana Dance that are determined by a composition called Yakshagana Padya. Tala also decides how a composition is enacted by dancers. It is similar to Tala in other forms of Indian music, but is structurally different from them. Each composition is set to one or more talas, and as a composition is rendered by Himmela, the percussion artist play supporting the dance performance.