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ART & CULTURE OF KARNATAKA

Karnataka, has a its own distinct art and culture. The diverse linguistic and religious ethnicities that are native to Karnataka combined with their long histories have contributed immensely to the varied cultural heritage of the state. Apart from Kannadigas, Karnataka is home to Tuluvas, Kodavas and Konkanis. Minor populations of Tibetan Buddhists and Siddhi tribes plus a few other ethnic groups also live in Karnataka. The traditional folk arts cover the entire gamut of music, dance, drama, storytelling by itinerant troupes, etc. Yakshagana, a classical folk play, is one of the major theatrical forms of coastal Karnataka. Contemporary theatre culture in Karnataka is one of the most vibrant in India with organizations like Ninasam, Ranga Shankara and Rangayana active on foundations laid down by the Gubbi Veeranna Nataka Company. Veeragase, Kamsale and Dollu Kunitha are popular dance forms. Bharatanatya also enjoys wide patronage in Karnataka.

Music

Karnataka is a unique place where both Hindustani and Carnatic singers flourish. North Karnataka is predominantly famous for Hindustani music and South Karnataka is well known for Carnatic music.

Carnatic music: With the rise of Vaishnavism and the Haridasa movement came Karnataka composers like Purandaradasa, whose Kannada language works were lucid, devotional and philosophical and hence appealing to the masses. Other haridasas of medieval times were Kanakadasa, Vyasatirtha, Jayatirtha, Sripadaraya, Vadirajatirtha etc., who composed several devara nama. One of the earliest and prominent composers in South India was the saint, and wandering bard of yore Purandara Dasa. Though historians claim Purandara Dasa composed 75,000 - 475,000 songs in Sanskrit and Kannada, only a few hundred of them are known today. He was a source of inspiration to the later composers like Tyagaraja. Owing to his contribution to the Carnatic Music he is referred to as the Father of Carnatic Music (Karnataka Sangeeta Pitamaha) Purandaradasa codified and consolidated the teaching of Carnatic music by evolving several steps like sarali, jantai, thattu varisai, alankara and geetham and laid down a framework for imparting formal training in this art form. Later in the 17th and 18th centuries, the haridasa movement would once again contribute to music in Karnataka in the form of haridasas such as Vijaya Dasa, Gopaladasa, Jagannathadasa who are just a few among a vast galaxy of devotional saints.

Hindustani: Karnataka has achieved a prominent place in the world of Hindustani music as well. Several of Karnataka's Hindustani musicians have bagged the Kalidas Sanman, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan awards. Some famous performers are Gangubai Hangal, Puttaraj Gawai, Pt. Bhimsen Joshi, Pt. Mallikarjun Mansur, Basavaraj Rajguru, Sawai Gandharva and Kumar Gandharva.

Dance Art Forms in Karnataka

Beesu Kamsale, Dollu Kunita, Goravara Kunita, Kamsale, Kolaata, Paata Kunita, Puravanthike, Kangilu Kunita, Bolukat, Dappu Kunita, Suggi Kunita, Ummathat, Chitmela and Gumatepong are the popular Dance Art Forms in Karnataka. Yakshagana a form of dance drama is one of the major theatrical forms in coastal Karnataka. A fusion of folk and classical tradition makes Yakshagana a unique form of art which includes colourfull costumes, music, dance, singing, and most importantly dialogs composed on the fly. Award winning performers include Shambhu Hegde, Chittani Ramachandra Hegde. Yakshagana and Dollu Kunitha are two of the popular dance forms of Karnataka. Gamaka is a unique music form based on Karnakata Sangeetha. 'Boodkali' of Coorg, 'Daasaraata' of North Karnataka etc seems to have lost its value in time.

Painting
The Bengal renaissance influenced the Mysore school of painting. King Krishnaraja Wodeyar III patronised famous painters including Sundarayya, Tanjavur Kondayya and Alasinrayya. King Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV patronised B. Venkatappa, Keshavayya, Nagaraju, Paavanje and Kamadolli. The Chamarajendra Technological Institute, Jaganmohan Art Gallery and Venkatappa Art Gallery are reminders of this heyday. Chitrakala Parishat is an organisation in Karnataka dedicated to promote painting, mainly the Mysore painting style.