No country in the world is blessed with a greater variety of forms in music, dance and theatre than ours. One of the theatre forms generally described as folk but possessing a strong classical connection is the Yakshagana. Although the name signifies the music of celestial beings, Yakshagana is an amalgam of the sky with the earth. There is both mystery and robustness about this form in which singing and drumming merge with dancing, and words with gestural interpretation, and players clad m costumes of striking colour and contours. It is the cherished cultural possession of the coastal districts of Karnataka. Dr. K.S. Karanth is the foremost living authority on Yakshagana and has been working on all its aspects, namely‚€”dance, music, and literature, since 1930. He has led the way to a deep and systematic study of this art form. He has spent decades travelling to remote villages within Karnataka to inspect and study every Yakshagana manuscript, the earliest going back to A.D. 1651. With his fine literary judgement and aesthetic sensibility, he has traced the changing trends in the performance of Yakshagana. He has interacted with hundreds of Yakshagana artistes to find out what customs in training and interpretation had prevailed earlier and had fallen into disuse and deserved to be resuscitated. He has put together his findings in the shape of two standard books YakshaganaBayalata (1958) in Kannada, and Yakshagana in Kannada and English (1975). The present volume is a revised edition of the earlier book, with additional material and illustrations. It is hoped that the book will provide valuable insights into one of the most attractive and dynamic art forms of our land, as well as into a penetrative mind.
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