Kunitha: Ritual Dances of Karnataka

Kunitha: Ritual Dances of Karnataka

Nammoora Jaatré (our village fair) is a showcase that brings together four different sacred music and ritual theatre traditions from the state of Karnataka in Southern India.

Traditionally, all the sacred arts traditions—be it dance or music or ritual theatre—are performed at local Jaatré (village fair).

Village fairs are grand annual religious celebrations hosted as an invocation to the village deities or the presiding temple gods.

Typically, these celebrations mark auspicious occasions including harvest, monsoons and other important days for the community.

Depending on their worship practices, the fairs are often a showcase of music and ritual theatre forms typical of the community performed as an offering to the lord and of course a vibrant way to bring together people.

This performance presents four incredible traditions—dollu kunita, pooje kunita, somana kunita and kamsale—all of which are sacred performative practices by different communities of Karnataka.

Dollu kunita and kamsale are percussion-based dance and music traditions that are performed exclusively by the various sects of the Shaivite community in Karnataka as an invocation of Lord Shiva.

Pooje and somana kunita are ritualistic folk dances performed as dedications to the village deities.

The performance is presented by the Karnataka Folk Ensemble, a collective of folk artists from across Karnataka led by its director Dilip.

The collective brings together performing artists from across communities with a view to investigate, understand, nurture and reimagine the folk narratives of the region.

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