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Getting ready for the inaugurals - Bhima, Yakshagana Kichaka Vadha
Getting ready for the inaugurals – Bhima, Yakshagana Kichaka Vadha

 

The 27th national convention of SPIC MACAY took off at the serene and breezy NITK Surathkal Campus in Coastal Karnataka. It is an annual pilgrimage of dance, music and all art forms for scores of art lovers in India, and abroad… Join me, on this pilgrimage!

The day started with people pouring in from various parts of the country and abroad into this verdant campus of NITK Surathkal, that is like an Oasis next to the Ocean! Though very weary due to the travel (many in the unreserved on Indian railway trains), seeing the old friends they get to meet after a long interregnum created the festive mood. Hugging and cheering, singing and dancing, sharing and caring the camaraderie goes on for the next one week.

Mr. Suresh Goyal, Chairman, ICCR officially inaugurated exhorting youngsters to make use of SPICMACAY and like platforms for their personal growth in every sense.

This series starts with the first day of the 2012 convention –

  1. Welcoming concert – traditional Nadaswaram by Vid. Mambalam Siva (Nadaswaram)
  2. Outstanding traditional folk storytelling of Karnataka YAKSHAGANA by Padmashri Shri Chittani Ramachandra Hegde and troupe
  3. Prof. T N Krishnan (Carnatic Violin) enthralled the young and youthful rasiks with his fabulous renditions
  4. Begum Parween Sultana (Hindustani Vocal) took the gathering to new heights with her enchanting voice and natkat adas.

The performances are lively and invigorating as is the tradition; the stay and accommodation comfortable and inviting, the food sumptuous and filling and the air vibrant with friendship and bonhomie…. I am sure this convention will be remembered for a long time.

As is my vaunt, the compelling desire to tell a story and share is taking shape here in the form of my daily vibrant and spiritual postings. So await every day visual stories from SPIC MACAY Natcon from NIT Suratkal.

Just sit back, browse and enjoy.

Love,

Sreeni
 

Vid. Mambalam Siva (Nadaswaram) lighting the lamp
Vid. Mambalam Siva (Nadaswaram) lighting the lamp

 
 
Welcoming concert – traditional Nadaswaram by Vid. Mambalam Siva (Nadaswaram)

Vidvan Mambalam Siva with his troupe started the program by invoking lord Ganesha, the auspicious lord, by rendering “Vatapi Ganapatim Baje”

The nadaswaram, nagaswaram, nadhaswaram or nathaswaram (Tamil: நாதஸ்வரம்), is one of the most popular classical musical instruments in the South Indian culture and the world’s loudest non-brass acoustic instrument. It is a wind instrument similar to the North Indian shehnai but larger, with a hardwood body and a large flaring bell made of wood or metal.
 

Vid. Mambalam Siva (Nadaswaram) and disciple
Vid. Mambalam Siva (Nadaswaram) and disciple

 
 
In South Indian Hindu culture, the nadaswaram is considered to be very auspicious, and it is a key musical instrument played in almost all Hindu weddings and temples of the South Indian tradition. It is part of the family of instruments known as a Mangala Vadya (lit. mangala : auspicious, vadya:instrument). The instrument is usually played in pairs, and accompanied by a pair of drums called thavil.
 
 

The nadaswaram troupe of Vid. Mambalam Siva  performing
The nadaswaram troupe of Vid. Mambalam Siva performing

 
YAKSHAGANA by Padmashri Shri Chittani Ramachandra Hegde and troupe

Yakshagana (Tulu: ಯಕ್ಷಗಾನ/Kannada: ಯಕ್ಷಗಾನ, yakṣagāna) is a musical theater popular in the coastal and Malenadu regions of Karnataka, India. Yakshagana is the recent (200 years) scholastic name for what are known as kēḷike, āṭa, bayalāṭa, bayalāṭa, daśāvatāra (Kannada: ಕೇಳಿಕೆ, ಆಟ, ಬಯಲಾಟ, ದಶಾವತಾರ). 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, Shimoga and Kasaragod district. It has drawn comparisons to the Western tradition of opera. Actors wear costumes and enact various roles. Traditionally, Yakshagana would go on all night. It is sometimes simply called as ಆಟ “play” in both Kannada and Tulu. Yaksha-gana literally means the song (gana) of a yaksha, which was a term for exotic tribes of ancient India.
 
 

Yakshagana, Kichaka Vadha
Yakshagana, Kichaka Vadha

 
 
Yakshagana consists of a himmela “background music group” and a mummela “dance and dialog group”, which together perform Yakshagana poetry. Himmela consist of a bhagawata “singer” who is also the director (also called the first actor, modalane vesha), 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 Talas are believed to be based on patterns which later evolved into Carnatic talas.
 
 

Padmashri Shri Chittani Ramachandra Hegde; Yakshagana, Kichaka Vadha
Padmashri Shri Chittani Ramachandra Hegde; Yakshagana, Kichaka Vadha

 
 
A Yakshagana performance begins at the twilight hours with the beating of several fixed compositions on drums called abbara or peetike for up to an hour before the actors get on the stage. The actors wear resplendent costumes, head-dresses, and face paints. The make-up and costume wearing takes at least a couple of hours.
 
 

Elaborae make-up. Yakshagana, Kichaka Vadha
Elaborae make-up. Yakshagana, Kichaka Vadha

 
 
A performance usually depicts a story from Indian epic poems and the Puranas. It consists of a narrator (Bhagvatha) who either narrates the story by singing or sings prepared character dialogues, backed by musicians playing on traditional musical instruments as the actors dance to the music, with actions that portray the story as it is being narrated. All the components of Yakshagana, music, dance and dialog are improvised. Depending on the ability and scholarship of the actors, variation in dance and amount of dialog may change. It is not uncommon for actors to get into philosophical debates or arguments without going out of the framework of the character being enacted. The acting can be categorised as method acting.
 
 

Improvising while getting ready. Yakshagana, Kichaka Vadha
Improvising while getting ready. Yakshagana, Kichaka Vadha

 
 
Kichaka Vadha – YAKSHAGANA by Padmashri Shri Chittani Ramachandra Hegde and troupe
 
 
After being defeated in the gamble, and as per the agreement, the Pandavas were to finish 12 years of VANAVASA and one year AGNATAVASA, where they were suppose to lead their life in disguise. Dure the agnathavasa, Pandavas alon with their wife Drowpadi take shelter in the palace of King Virata. Drowpadi joins as Sairandhri, an assistant to the queen Sudheshna, Bhima as Cook, Arjuna as a dance master and so on. As the days were passing, one day, KEECHAKA, the brother of Sudeshna, after winnin a war, visits hi sister, sudheshna where he sees sairandhri (Draupadi in disguise) and is smitten by her beauty. He wants to make her one of his consorts. Draupadi eludes him and complains to Bhima, who is in a disguise of a cook. Bhima promises Draupadi that he would get rid of Kichaka, killing him secretly. Bhima, in the guise of Sairandhri (a woman) entices and kills Kichaka.
 
 

Waiting to enter the arena. Yakshagana, Kichaka Vadha
Waiting to enter the arena. Yakshagana, Kichaka Vadha

 
 

Here, I go...Yakshagana, Kichaka Vadha
Here, I go… Yakshagana, Kichaka Vadha

 
 

Other characters at various stages of make-up, back stage. Yakshagana, Kichaka Vadha
Other characters at various stages of make-up, back stage. Yakshagana, Kichaka Vadha

 
 
All female characters in the story line are also portrayed by male actors. Their depiction, acting make you hold your breath. The amount of effort that goes into becoming the lady is mind-blowing. While I was at the back-stage, the male actors depicting female characters were so involved, that they were shy, like a woman, to change their clothing – falsies etc. They were engrossed in their portrayal.
 
 

On the wings - Sairandhri and Sudheshna.. Yakshagana, Kichaka Vadha
On the wings – Sairandhri and Sudheshna.. Yakshagana, Kichaka Vadha

 
 
 

Quick water break for the 79 year old. Yakshagana, Kichaka Vadha
Quick water break for the 79 year old. Yakshagana, Kichaka Vadha

 
 

Kichaka ready to enter the stage. Yakshagana, Kichaka Vadha
Kichaka ready to enter the stage. Yakshagana, Kichaka Vadha

 
 

With his willy laughter. Yakshagana, Kichaka Vadha
With his willy laughter.. Yakshagana, Kichaka Vadha

 
 

Bhima getting ready.. Yakshagana, Kichaka Vadha
Bhima getting ready… Yakshagana, Kichaka Vadha

 
 
 

Keechaka in his elements.. Yakshagana, Kichaka Vadha
Keechaka in his elements… Yakshagana, Kichaka Vadha

 
 

Should I enter now? Yakshagana, Kichaka Vadha
Should I enter now? Yakshagana, Kichaka Vadha

 
 

Off I go, tired. 79 year old Padmashri Chittani Ramachandra Hegde after an hour on stage. Vadha Yakshagana, Kichaka Vadha
Off I go, tired. 79 year old Padmashri Chittani Ramachandra Hegde after an hour on stage. Yakshagana, Kichaka Vadha

 
 

Bhima, ready, beyond belief! Yakshagana, Kichaka Vadha
Bhima, ready, beyond belief! Yakshagana, Kichaka Vadha

 
 

Engrossed exchanges - Kichaka and his side-kick. Yakshagana, Kichaka Vadha
Engrossed exchanges – Kichaka and his side-kick. Yakshagana, Kichaka Vadha

 
 

Kichaka enticing Draupadi (sairandhri). Yakshagana, Kichaka Vadha
Kichaka enticing Draupadi (sairandhri). Yakshagana, Kichaka Vadha

 
 

Sairandhri sharing her woes with Bhima and seeking help. Yakshagana, Kichaka Vadha
Sairandhri sharing her woes with Bhima and seeking help. Yakshagana, Kichaka Vadha

 
 

Devoid of costume, Draupadi behind Kichaka. Yakshagana, Kichaka Vadha
Devoid of costume, Draupadi behind Kichaka. Yakshagana, Kichaka Vadha

 
 

A long peep! Elderly watching the show from outside the hall.. Yakshagana, Kichaka Vadha
A long peep! Elderly watching the show from outside the hall. Yakshagana, Kichaka Vadha

 
 
Though many did not relate the language, Kannada, of Yakshagana, the acting left many in dizzy state. The show was a little longer than expected. So everyone had to rush out for a quick bite, before they join for the evening inaugural concert by T N Krishnan on Violin and Parween Sultana, Hindustani Vocal.
 
 

Rush, Rush for a quick bite. For the evening show!
Rush, Rush for a quick bite. For the evening show!

 
 
 
Prof. T N Krishnan (Carnatic Violin) Takes stage to enthrall the young and youthful rasiks with his fabulous renditions
 
 

Taking the stage. Young rasiks at feet.
Taking the stage. Young rasiks at feet.!

 
 
 

Stalwarts on Mridangam and Ghatam join in.  Young rasiks at feet.
Stalwarts on Mridangam and Ghatam join in. Young rasiks at feet.!

 
 

Ethereal, about to start. Guru T N Krishnan concert
Ethereal, about to start. Guru T N Krishnan concert

 
 

Audience pleased as a punch. Guru T N Krishnan concert
Audience pleased as a punch. Guru T N Krishnan concert

 
 

In his mood...  Guru T N Krishnan concert
In his mood… . Guru T N Krishnan concert

 
 
 

mesmerized... Guru T N Krishnan concert
mesmerized… Guru T N Krishnan concert

 
 
 

To the hosannas.. Guru T N Krishnan concert
To the hosannas… Guru T N Krishnan concert

 
 
Queen of Hindustani Classical Music from the Brahmaputra Valley, Guru Parween Sultana”
 
 

Taking off....Guru Parween Sultana
Taking off….Guru Parween Sultana

 
 

Special seat on the flight to heaven. Kiranji invited by Parween Sultana
Special seat on the flight to heaven. Kiranji invited by Parween Sultana

 
 

Cruising... Parween Sultana
Cruising… Parween Sultana

 
 

Blissful.. Parween Sultana
Blissful.. Parween Sultana

 
 

What a day.. .it has been
What a day.. .it has been

 
 

That is the end of the day 1 at Natcon, SPIC MACAY, Suratkal. Thanks to WIKIPedia and contributors for detailing Nadaswaram and Yakshagana…
 
 
Thousands of captures of SPIC MACAY conventions, see on my Flickr collections
Like my Facebook – Photo and Visual Arts Page
 
 
Awaiting for the next post? will happen. Love. Sreeni

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