M. Prabhakar Joshi says unnecessary use of percussion instruments mars performances

Yakshagana scholars at a workshop on ‘himmela’ (supportive music) of tenku thittu (southern) school of Yakshagana here have cautioned music artistes against breaching the boundaries of tradition by taking up individual-centric performance.

The two-day workshop organised by the Karnataka Yakshagana and Bayalata Academy began here on Sunday with a focus on modernity and tradition in ‘himmela’ in tenku thittu school of Yakshagana.

Participating in the discussion on ‘bhagawathike’ (singing) and playing of ‘chende’ and ‘maddale’ (percussion instruments) yakshagana scholar and critic M. Prabhakar Joshi said: “It is not a question of who is right. It is what is right that is important (in Yakshagana).”

Mr. Joshi cautioned the music artistes on the unnecessary use of ‘chende’ (which produced high decibel sound) which came in the way of quality performance. “Its use should be minimal depending on the ‘prasanga’ (text) chosen for the performance.”

He said the need of the hour was to discard the “external” elements which have crept into Yakshagana music in the guise of experiment and retain the original composition of music.

Stressing on the importance of discipline to be followed by ‘himmela’ artistes senior ‘bhagawatha’ Kumbanur Sridhar Rao said that chewing pan, drinking tea or coffee diverted the attention of audience and performing artistes. Such practices did not add value to a theatre performance like Yakshagana.

Mr. Rao said that while performers were speaking to each other on the stage some players of ‘chende’ and ‘maddale’ unnecessarily beat it up now and then . This trend has reached such a level that unmindful of a tragic scene on the stage which demanded serenity some ‘chende-maddale’ players produced noises ruining the show.

Mr. Rao said that excessive beating of “chende” came in the way of enjoying Yakshagana music. He said that discipline in Yakshagana started waning in the 1990s. The years between 1960 and 1990 were probably the golden era of Yakshagana as far as discipline was concerned.

Balipa Narayana Bhagawatha said that any raga could be adapted to Yakshagana music provided they synchronised with the art form. He narrated it by singing a classical raga in Yakshagna style.

Chairman of the academy M. L. Samaga said that the focus of the workshop was to create awareness among professional artistes on the difference between tradition and modernity.

The workshop would conclude on Monday.