Focus on Indian folk at Sangeet Natak Akademi festival

New Delhi: The colours of Indian folk traditions are the highlight of the ongoing Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards festival in the capital. Four folk musical troupes will perform Saturday to showcase the diverse cultural tradition of India.

The performances are -- Bharud, the folk theatre of Maharashtra by Chandatai Jagadish Tiwadi and Group; Karagam, the folk dance of Tamil Nadu by T. Somasundaram and Group; Bhakha, the folk music of Jammu and Kashmir; and Tolu Bommalata -- the traditional shadow puppetry of Andhra Pradesh, a statement by the Sangeet Natak Akademi said Wednesday.

A spokesperson for the Akademi said the "spotlight on the folk traditions was an attempt to revive the dying folk arts traditions of India and the ancient spiritual and religious legacies associated with the genres".

Bharud -- drama poems -- was made popular by Marathi seer Eknath. The poems propagate the message of Bhakti and are passed down orally. The poems are often enacted.

Karagam, the commonest form of folk dance of Tamil Nadu, originated from a ritual dedicated to Mariamman -- the goddess of health and rain who also protects people from diseases like small-pox and cholera.

Bhakha is an ancient folk musical form from Jammu and Kashmir sung to the accompaniment to instruments like harmonium.

Leather puppets are a popular means of rural entertainment in Andhra Pradesh and the art of puppet-making is a craft that has carved out a niche for itself in the state.

The puppets of mythological figures are used to enact shadow plays, popularly called `Tolubommalata`, which explores the religious and royal history of Andhra Pradesh.

The festival, which began July 23, has brought together artists and performers from all genres of music and performing arts who have been honoured with the Sangeet Natak Akademi awards.


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