Kateel Yakshagana mela

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A century-old Yakshagana mela in Dakshina Kannada will resume its all-night performances following approval from the Karnataka High Court.

About Kateel Yakshagana mela

  • It is a famous Yakshagaana troupe started in the mid-19th century.
  • The Yakshagaana troupe, Kateel Sri Durgaparameshwari Yakshagaana Dashavatara Mandali, popularly known as Kateel Mela is an important ‘Harake Seva’ (hosting the Yakshagana show for God fulfilling a wish) troupe.
  • It performs on request by devotees who have taken a vow (Harake) to arrange a show of Yakshagaana for fulfillment of a desire or as a service.

Key facts about Yakshagana

  • It is a traditional folk dance form popular in Coastal Karnataka.
  • It is a rare combination of dance, music, song, scholarly dialogues and colourful costumes.
  • Traditionally, men portray all roles, including the female ones, though women are now part of Yakshagana troupes.
  • A typical troupe consists of 15 to 20 actors and a Bhagawatha, who is the master of ceremonies and the main storyteller.
  • Elements of Yakshagana
    • The Act: Each performance typically focuses on a small sub-story (known as ‘Prasanga’) from ancient Hindu epics of Ramayana or Mahabharata.
    • The show consists of both stage performances by talented artists and commentary (performed by the lead singer or Bhagawatha) accompanied by traditional music. 
    • The Music: Musical instruments used in Yakshagana include Chande (drums), Harmonium, Maddale, Taala (mini metal clappers) and flute among others. 
    • The Dress: Costumes used in Yakshagana are very unique and elaborate. Large size headgear, coloured faces, elaborate costumes all over the body and musical beads on the legs (Gejje).

Q1) What is Maddale?

It is a percussion instrument from Karnataka, India. It is the primary rhythmic accompaniment in a Yakshagana ensemble along with Chande. Maddale used in Yakshagana looks similar to mridangam but is markedly different in structure, acoustics, playing techniques and the rhythm system (Yakshagana Tala). 

Source: Kateel Yakshagana mela to revert to all-night shows from January 14