Yakshanidhi - Fifth Annual Meeting

Yakshanidhi is the artist welfare wing of Yakshagana Kalaranga Udupi. It is engaged in the activities to improve artists' standard of life by arranging group insurance, emergency aid, medical help etc. the fifth annual general body meeting of the Yakshanidhi was held at Ravindra Mantapa, M G M College, Udupi.

Actor, organiser, director Keremane Shambhu Hegde speaking as the chief guest, said we Yakshagana artists should open our eyes to the wider world, happenings in other fields of art, and try to gain greater knowledge, esteem and unity, for the welfare of art and artists. He called upon organisations to emulate Kalaranga in their endeavors. President Jagajjeevana Dasa Shetty welcomed, and Secretary Murali Kadekar compered the discussions and proceedings. Kishore Udhyavar presented the report. Artist Pookala Laxminarayana Bhat presented a paper on the 'five years of Yakshanidhi, experiences, problems and suggestions'.

Dr. M Prabhakara Joshy, was the guest of honour. He spoke of the various issues facing Yakshagana as an art and as a profession. He lauded the excellent work being done by Yakshagana Kalaranga.

Yakshagana.com Donates Rs.25,000/- 

Your website www.yakshagana.com proudly reports that we have, with your suport donated Rs. 25,000/- at this annual meeeting and convention. Dr. Joshy presented the cheque on behalf of  Vasudeva Aithala Producer of Yakshagana.com . Prof. M L Samaga, Kumble Sundar Rao and other dignitaries were present on the stage. President Jagajivandas Shetty said such help will go a long way in boosting the efforts of Yakshanidhi and thanked the website and the donors for the C D project through which these funds were collected. This contribution was made in addition Rs. 25,000 donated in the year 2002.

Bhagawat A P Gogate Honoured

Senior amateur Yakshagana singer Sri A P Gogate was recently honoured on the occasion of his retirement farewel from the co-operative society at Belthangady. He served the organisation for 35 years. Sri Gogate has decided to settle at his native place Arasinamakki. The honour was organised by a committee formed for the purpose.

Sri A P Gogate, had his initial training in singing from his father Purushottama Gogate - a singer in the theatrical company of Ranganatha Bhat Mundaje. He learnt Yakshagana under late Sri Devaraj and Guru Gopala Krishna Kurup. Gogate served Yakshagana as able Bhagawatha for over 25 years. Endowed with a sweet voice, he knows over 50 prasangas. He has been the leading singer among the amateur troupes around Belthangady. He has also been the singer for the Yakshagana puppet troupes of Belthangady Krishna Shetty and Divakara Patavardhan. Gogate's singing is of good standard conforming to the basics of Yakshagana very well. He is a very sobre, simple person.

The honouring was done at the N G O's Hall, under the presidentship of his Guru Sri Kurup, who praised his disciple's abilities. Ujire Ashoka Bhat giving the felicitation speech outlined the life and achievements and his professional career.

Sri Gogate thanked his mentor and organisers. Chief guests Dr. Prabhakara Joshy and Bhagawatha Kubanur Sridhar Rao - stressed the importance of such honours in spreading good taste and recognising good art. K Gopal Rao, Ramananda Salian and associates organised the event.

Nedle Narasimha Bhat Foundation Inauguration

An art foundation to undertake constructive work in Yakshagana, by organising, encouraging and sponsoring programmes, was inaugurated at the Town Hall Mangalore on the 15th of June, at a grand full day function. The foundation is in the name of 91 years old great Yakshagana drummer, Nedle Narasimha Bhat, considered to be one of the greatest of Yakshagana Chende - Maddale artists.

The days programme included three parts - a demonstration, performances of three episodes and the inaugural proper. Senior Yakshagana drummer Chipparu Krishnayya Ballal inaugurated the morning session of demonstration, and said Sri Nedle is like a 'Guru' for all of his contemporaries and had elevated the status of a drum player with his excellence. Dr. M P Joshy introduced the foundation and its objectives, outlining the achievements of Si Nedle. Vidhwan P Krishna Bhat welcomed. Many senior and young artists participated in the Yakshagana singing and dance demonstration which was compered by Ujire Ashoka Bhat and Seraje Sitarama Bhat. Bhaskara Rai Kukkuvalli, member Folklore Akademy felicitated.

Three prasangas - Dushyasana Vadhe, Mairavana Kalaga and Rati Kalyana were presented in the afternoon session. The grand inaugural was between the second and the third performances.

H H Sri Raghaveshwara Bharati Swamiji of Ramachandrapura Mutt, inaugurated and blessed the occasion. Critic and organiser K M Raghava Nambiar gave the felicitaton address, depicting the contribution of Sri Nedle to Yakshagana. Sri Laxminarayana Asranna of Kateelu said Nedle being a resident of Kateel for long, was a part of Kateel community and they all have great respect for him, and he released the autobiography of Sri Nedle. Sri Kallady Vitala Shetty, a senior troupe organsier - under whom Nedle served for long, spoke of his dedication, model professionalism and personal qualities. Sri V K Talithaya and Principal G Shankara Shetty were the guests of honour.
The Autobiography :

Nedle's autobiography, titled 'Chendeya Melunudi' (The Soft Wordings of Chende) is authored by artist, teacher Sarpangala Ishwara Bhatta - (started by Nedle and rendered in first person). The book is a brief account of life and includes important photographs.

The presenter author of the book Ishwara Bhat was honoured on the occasion by the Swamiji, on behalf of the organiser Nedle Rama Bhat. 

Bannada Malinga gets Nedle Award

Senior Bannada Veshadhari (Demon role actor), and long time colleague of Nedle. Sri Bannada Malinga was honoured with the first Nedle Foundation Award on the occasion. The award carries Rs.25,000/- , a citation, phalatambula and sanman. The foundation will undertake a necessary project for the artist - renovation of Malinga's residence at Sampaje. 

The 92 year old Malinga was present and received the award, in presence of a big audience and his colleague Nedle on the stage, who was belssed and honoured by the Swamiji and the representatives of Dharmasthala Kshetra. Senior artists Kumble Sundar Rao spoke about Sri Bannada Malinga.

A Touching Moment

There was a special emotional event in the programme, when Principal G Shankara Shetty, a well wisher of Nedle, handed over to him the drum, which he had bought from Narasimha Bhat about three decades ago, that drum and sticks were handed over to Nedle's grandson - Narasimha Mahesh - as a token of continuing the artistic tradition of the family.

Founder and organiser Nedle Rama Bhat proposed the vote of thank. G K Bhat Seraje and Kadri Navaneeta Shetty compered while Mrs. Saraswathi Rama Bhat and associates supervised. The programme was well organised and well attended.

Edneer Swamiji Turns 60 and Honoured

H H Edneer Keshavananda Bharati Swamiji, popularly known as Edneer Swamiji and also a Yakshagana Swamiji, was recently honoured at a function organised at Paryaya Palimar Mut Udupi. The honour was organised on the occasion of Swamiji's 60th birthday series and the recognition of his services and contribution in the field of Yakshagana. 

H H Pejawar Vishwesha Thirtha Swamiji Gangadhareshwara Swamiji of Swarnavalli, Raghaveshwara Bharati Swamiji, were present on the occasion. They landed Edneer Seer's interest and bold involvement in Yakshagana. Sri Sri Palimar Swamiji presented the honour, plaque and sanman followed by garlanding by large number of devotees. 

The honour coincided with the Yakshagana Sapthaha (Yakshagana week) organised by the Edneer Swamiji at various places, at various places, an annual feature for the last 30 years. Vidhwan Bannanje Govindacharya spoke on the occasion. Prof. K S Kedlaya, Pradeep Kumar Kalkura conducted the programme.

In the week long series - over eighty senior and young artists participated in the seven day performances. 

Edneer Keshavananda Bharati: - is the pontiff of the Totakacharya tradition mutt, a Edneer in Kasargod. Born and brought up in a rich art tradition, Swamiji is a Yakshagana Bhagawath, a classical singer, a Haridas, a playwright and a art patron. He is the first Swamiji (Head Pontiff or seer) to sing as Yakshagana Bhagawath, which was considered a stigma. He broke the barrier with his revolutionary zeal and today he is called Yakshagana Swamiji.

Sri Swamiji has over 30 audio cassettes to his credit. He has organised over a thousand performances at Edneer and other places. He has written a few dramas. He heads the Bharati Kalavrinda - the art forum of the Mutt.

Polali Shastri Award For Kittanna Rai

Bellare Kittanna Rai, of Ponnaguttu Bellare, Sullya Taluk (aged 82) was presented the prestigious Polali Shastri Award for year 2003, at a function in the Kote Mundugar School, near his native. The award is given in the name of the great exponent of Talamaddale Yakshagana Vachaspati Polali Shankara Narayana Shastri (1897 - 1972).

Senior social leader Kilangody Shankara Rao presided over and said prople like Sri Rai have done a great service by transmitting cultural values through Talamaddale.

Artist, co-operator Kaje Ishwara Bhat, local leader Chennappa Gowda, N Vishwanatha Rai, Kote Vasantha Kumar, Dr. M P Joshy felicitated and explained the services of Kittanna Rai in various fields. The awardee Sri Rai, spoke of his association with Polali Shastry and other artists and thanked the organisers. The programme was jointly organised by Polali Shastri Smaraka Samiti, Kalanja Yuvaka Mandala and Chokkady Seetaramayya Samskriti Ranga. Satyamoorthy Deraje, M Tirumaleshwara compered the programme. Samiti President Shashidara Aithala and Secretary Nityananda Karanth co-ordinated. The function concluded with a Talamaddale 'Guru Dakshine'.

Bellare Kittanna Rai is a well known multifaceted personality has a background of art and social service. He served as the village Patel, village panchayat Chairman, and Taluk Panchayat Vice President, and District board member for over 40 years. He was a well known arthadhari, an associate of Polali Shastry, Seetaramayya, Uduvekodi Narayanayya, Narayana Kille and such other stalwarts. A committed Gandhian, he has done a lot for the rural development in Puttur and Sullya. A simple, friendly and kind hearted Rai, always encourages younger talents. His exposition of roles like Dharmaraja, Duryodhana, Rama were of a high standard.
At 82, Kittanna Rai is healthy and active.

Damodara Shettigara Remembered

Yakshagana costumer, actor, organiser Talippady Damodara Shettigara was remembered at a function at Weavers Community Hall Kinnigoli, on his fourth death anniversary. Dr M P Joshy presided over, while senor poet artist Ambatanaya Mudradi gave the commemoration address. He outlined the life, and work as actor and costume maker of Damodar Shettigar.

Kateelu Gopalakrishna Asranna, Dr. N Narayana Shetty, E Srinivasa Bhat, Bhuvanabhirama Udupi were the chief guests. Mrs. Mohini Damodara Shettigara, her sons and family organised the function.

Kadaba Santhappa Honoured

Veteran alround actor, costumer Kadaba Santhappa (80) was honoured with Damodara Shettigara Award of this year in the above function. Artist Taranatha Balyaya spoke about Sri Santhappa's career as a versatile actor. Sadashiva Shettigar Brothers and Prithviraja Kavatthar conducted the programme. The hounour was preceded and followed by Yakshagana performance by famous artists.

T Keshava Bhat gets Sediyapu Award

Octagenarian Kannada scholar, researcher, poet, teacher and author of a variety of books Prof. Taltaje Keshava Bhat has been awarded the prestigeous Sediyapu Award for the year 2003. This award is given by the Govinda Pai Research Centre (RGPRC) of MGM College Udupi, in the name of the great scholar poet Sediyapu Krishna Bhat. Prof. Keshava Bhat is an artist and critic of Yakshagana also.

Prof. Bhat has authored over 50 books, including poetry, epics, folklore collections, lyrics, essay collections, dramas and text books. He has been honoured by many lading organisations. He has done good work in teaching Yakshagana singing and maddale to a number of disciples, besides participating as a performer.

Madhava Nayak is No More

Art and literature Coonisseur supporter Bolwar P Madhava Nayak passed at Puttur recently. He was 72. A timber merchant by profession, Madhava Nayak had deep interest in music, yakshagana, literature, dance and social work. He had patronised these activities in Puttur. He had honoured many artists. He was the President of Anjaneya Yakshagana Sangha Puttur.

Kedambady Jattappa Rai Passes Away

Well known writer, author of the famous 'Beteya Nenapugalu', and Tulu authority Kedambady Jattappa Rai, died at his village Panaje of Puttur, at the age of 82. His books on experiences in hunting are epoch making works. The English transaltion of his work 'Reminiscenses of a Hunter' had won his acclaim as the 'Jim Corbet of Karnataka'. A nephew of famous Yakshagana artist Grur K P Venkappa Shetty, (Pakir Shetty), Jatthappa Rai was a wonderful story teller and translator, an intimate presenter.

Yakshagana 'Congress' Zurich

Yaksharanga, one of the institutions attached to the M G M College Udupi (under the Academy of General Education Manipal), staged four episodes of Ramayana and Mahabharata at Zurich in Switzerland recently. The shows were given as a part of a cultural exhibition to which Yaksharanga was invited along with Boul Patachitra, classical music, bharatanatyam and Tabla duet by famous Indian artists.

Prof. Heranje Krishna Bhat, Director, Yakshagana Kalakendra and S A Krishnayya, Research scholar of RRC led the troupe at the festival. The prasangas preformed were - Shoorpanakha, Ghorabhishana Kalaga, Chakravyooha and Jatayu Moksha. Senior Sweiss scholars Albert Lourdes, Ms. Andrea Koperest, Dr. Elmer Ledergerber, Dr. Albert Fiscner and others hosted, and spoke highly of the Yaksharanga performances. Ms. Deepthi Abhilash, a researcher from Karnataka at Zurich guided the troupes journey. Leading personalities like Dr M S Gill (former Chief of Election Commission) witnessed and appreciated the festival. 

The tour has ably presented Yakshagana at an international level again in keeping with the tradition of Yaksharanga, RRC and MGM College, which have been doing important work in Yakshagana training, folklore study, documentation and dissemination of such activities to national and in international fora.

Ramesh Bhat Passes Away

Young percussionist Halkar Ramesh Bhat, Kumta passed away recently at Bangalore. He was 40. Ramesh Bhat was an able Maddalegara having served in Shirasi, Kamalashile, Saakooru, Mandarthi, Mulki troupes and other local groups. He had made a good name. Yakshagana Kalaranga Udupi and many artists have expressed grief over their tragedy.

Connoisseur Lolamma Honoured

Yakshagana Connoisseur Lolamma Pacchanady was one of the four senior men of cultural action honoured by Samskarabharati Mangalore Division, a local branch of the All India Organisation, engaged in multifarious activities in cultural action.

Mrs. Lolamma has been arranging Yakshagana Harake Bayalata (a free show by a vow) for over 30 years, a rare feet for a lady. Samskara Bharati picked her for their Vyasa Poornima Honours, in which they recognise senior art activists, hitherto not recognised much (the other three honoured were Bharatanatyam Guru Suratkal Venkatrao, Pailwan Sankappa Shetty, Writer-Journalist V B Hosamane). Mrs. Lolamma shared her joy and experience of Bayalata organising in this occasion. 

A team led by N Vinaya Hegde, Mayor Diwakar, Kumble Sundara Rao, M L A Yogish Bhat, Suresh Raj, Nagesh Salian, Chandrashekara Shetty and others visited these senior men at their houses to give away the honour.

Yakshadegula Inaugurated

A new Yakshagana forum called Yakshadegula was recently inaugurated at Kantavara, near Karkala. Dr. Jeevandhara Ballal, Chief Trustee of Kanteshwara Temple inaugurated and called upon art lovers to support such organisations engaged in good Yakshagana activity. Ramachandra Bhat, Mahavir Pandy, Ranjit Jain hosted the programme. Senior artists presented Talamaddale 'Sri Rama Pattabhisheka'.

Mohammed Kukkumbala is No More

Veteran drama actor, Yakshagana artist Mohammed Kukkumbala died recently at his residence in Sullya. He was 76. He was one of those artists among the Muslims to have made a breakthrough by acting in Yakshagana and Puranic (mythological) dramas. His roles like Shoorpanakhi, Ravana, Athikaya, Hanumantha, Sri Rama brought him acclaim.

Shivarama Jogi Gets Dogra Poojary Award

Senior Yakshagana actor, Shivarama Jogi (62) was awarded the coveted Boloor Dogra Poojary Award at Mangalore recently. He was honoured on the 23rd annual commemoration programme of Yakshagana organiser, supporter Late Bolur Dogra Poojary. Social leader and Politician K Suresh Ballal gave away the award and said such honours will encourage artists to continue their good work in educating and entertaining the people.

Artist Seraje Seetarama Bhat, felicitated Shivarama Jogi, and outlined his versatile talent as an actor and a team man. Jogi is among today's top class artists capable of handling a wide range of characters. His roles like Indrajitu, Kumara Rama, Kamsa, Arjuna, Hiranyaksha are considered to be of high class. He has served over 40 years in the Suratkala Mela alone.

Scholar, Writer Prof. Amrita Someshwara speaking on the occasion said Yakshagana should try to imbibe new dimensions combining our heritage and modern spirit. He lauded the works of artists like Sri Jogi in furthering our culture and spreading knowledge and values. He also released Yakshgana prasanga 'Koti Chennaya' by Madhukumara Bolur, son of Late Dogra Poojary. (This work is a Tulu Translation of the famous Yakshagana translation of the famous Kannada Yakshagana composition by Pandabettu Venkatrao).

Shivarama Jogi thanked the organisers for the honour. Sri Damodara Nisarga, Madhukumar and associates hosted the programme in which K Nagesh Salian welcomed while Tonse Pushkala Kumar conducted. The programme concluded with Talamaddale "Atikaya Moksha" by well known artists.

Keremane Rangamandira Nearing Completion

A multipurpose art theatre hall, named after the legendary Yakshagana maestro Keremane Shivarama Hegde, is nearing completion, and is likely to be a landmark construction said the promoter of the project and director actor of Idagunji Mela, Keremane Shambhu Hegde.

The hall planned at an outlay of about 30 Lakhs, and needs a further amount of around Rs. 10 Lakhs. Sri Shambhu Hegde has appealed for help from art lovers, supporters and abhimanis of Shivarama Hegde to donate liberally to complete this ambitious project. It is designed in a theatrical plan, with a guest house, provision for a training centerand a performance hall.


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