'Relearning and Continuing the oral tradition of Yakshagana Bagavatike (Singing)' –A Project on Study, Research and Imparting Traditional Knowledge System.
The Yakshagana Bhagavatike has got a history of about 500 years to date. The origins of oral storytelling tradition in the unique Yakshaganic style goes back to 12th-century C.E.
The traditional singing style of Yakshagana is very unique and is different from both Carnatic and Hindustani classical music styles. Unfortunately, this unique singing style is slowly getting extinct due to the influence of popular music and other music traditions. Many Yakshagana Bhagawathas, due to lack of knowledge and understanding, are mixing the Hindustani and Karnataki styles and even popular film tunes too in their presentation now a day. To break this trend our institution started this project in 2010.
Bhasam (an acronym for Bhagavatike Samshodana Shibira) is a study, research, and preservation project on the original singing tradition of Yakshagana. It is a practical step towards rediscovering the oral tradition of Yakshagana singing and propagating it to the performing Bhagavatas of today's generation. This Gurukula model training involved senior retired professional Bhagavatas training upcoming professional Bhagavatas, solving complications of young minds amidst the influence of other musical traditions in the modern world. In this project, every month 3-day residential workshop and discussion sessions are conducted at our premises. 20 professional young Bhagavatas and four resource persons were participated to explore the unique style of Yakshagana oral tradition. Art experts, art critics, researchers, music scholars of Hindustani and Karnataki and legendary artists also invited occasionally. This made a phenomenal change in Bhagavathas' career. This project was run for 3 years with the financial support by Sangeet Natak Academy, Ministry of Culture (2010-2012) and it is at a halt now due to lack of support. However, as the need for keeping the fading the oral tradition is rising day by day, the project is as relevant as ever. Mandali wants to continue this in the future with proper support.