Dollu Kunitha

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Dollu Kunitha performance at the Fireflies Festival of Sacred Music, April 8, 2006.

Dollu Kunitha (dance), is a major form of art, occupies the pride of place among folk dances. Dollu Kunitha is a popular drum dance of Karnataka accompanied by singing. It provides both spectacular variety and complexity of skills in the process of demonstration. Woven around the presiding deity of Beereshwara or Beeralingeswara, chiefly worshipped by the Kuruba Gowdas of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, also called Halumathasthas, it presents both entertainment and spiritual edification.

Background[edit]

In all temples of Beereshwara, it is a religious practice that the major instrument Dollu be hung in the premises of the temple by means of a thick thread tied up to the hooks fixed in the ceiling. Every time pooja is offered to Beereshwara, the custom demands that there should be an instantaneous beating of the Dollu as an accompanying act of worship. definition of folk art: Folk art encompasses art produced from an indigenous culture or by peasants or other laboring tradespeople. In contrast to fine art, folk art is primarily utilitarian and decorative rather than purely aesthetic

Dollu Kunitha:

Dollu Kunitha is one of the ancient and famous folk dance forms of South India especially in Karnataka and Andra Pradesh. This dance form is known as the masculine art, with vigour.

Once upon a time a demon named “Dollu” prays to Lord Shiva Impressed by his penance Lord Shiva appears and offers a boon. Dollu Requests for immortality which Shiva refuses. Enraged Dollu swallows Shiva. This enrages Shiva, who tears out of dollu’s stomach. Shiva then uses the abdomen of dollu as instrument and nerves as the rope, hands as tala. Shiva takes up the Raudra Avatara and dances to quench his anger.

Shiva later handsover this instrument to his devotees, the “Halu Kurubas” and asks them to use it, thus worship him during their festivities. The “Halu Kuruba” tribes in shimogga follows this tradition even today.

It is a religious practice that the major instrument Dollu be hung in the premises of the temple through a thick thread tied up to the hooks fixed in the ceiling. Every time pooja is offered to Lord Shiva also known as Beereshwara, as per the custom there should be an instantaneous beating of the Dollu as an accompanying act of worship.

The performers form a semi-circle and involve in extremely swift and supple movements. The beat is controlled and directed by a leader with cymbals who is positioned in the centre. Slow and fast rhythms alternate and group Share: weaves varied patterns. The costumes are simple. Upper part of the body is usually left bare while a black sheet-rug is tied on the lower body over the `dhooti` or sarong.

History[edit]

Dollu Kunitha performed by women

Kuruba Gowdas sing in his lord Beereshwaras glory, giving an altogether different ring of intonation as distinguishable from the rest of other kinds of folk singers. Their ancestral pride is something, unconditional when they take to singing, tracing the origin of their genealogy, evolution and development over the ages. This expressive literature in its oral tradition goes by the legend called 'Halumatha Purana' or Kuruba Purana.

FOLK / TRIBAL DANCE DOLLU KUNITHA

Introduction:

Dollu Kunitha provides both spectacular variety and complexity of skills in the process of demonstration. It is performed in order to please the deity of Beereshwara or Beeralingeswara, worshipped by the Kuruba Gowdas of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, also called Halumathasthas.In all temples where deity Beereshwara presides , it is a religious practice that the major instrument Dollu be hung in the premises of the temple through a thick thread tied up to the hooks fixed in the ceiling. Every time pooja is offered to Beereshwara, as per the custom there should be an instantaneous beating of the Dollu as an accompanying act of worship.

History of Dollu Kunitha

Kuruba Gowdas sing praising lord Beereshwara , giving an altogether different ring of intonation. Their singing traces the origin of their genealogy, evolution and development over the ages. This expressive literature in its oral tradition goes by the legend called `Halumatha Purana` or Kuruba Purana.

A demon Dollasura worshiped Lord Shiva. He appeared before him and asked him to ask for a boon, Dollasura asked that he should be able to swallow Lord Shiva. The boon was granted and Dollasura swallowed Shiva. Shiva started growing bigger. The asura was unable to bear the pain and pleaded Shiva to come out. Shiva killed him and came out; Shiva used the skin of the asura to make a drum and gave it to the rustics to play it.

Performance:

The performers form a semi-circle and involve in extremely swift and supple movements. The beat is controlled and directed by a leader with cymbals who is positioned in the centre. Slow and fast rhythms alternate and group Share: weaves varied patterns. The costumes are simple. Upper part of the body is usually left bare while a black sheet-rug is tied on the lower body over the `dhooti` or sarong.

Tradition[edit]

Dollu dance has gone on uninterruptedly generation after generation with renewed vigour and raciness of performance. Hardly any religious performance of a ritualistic ceremony or any village festival can ever take place without this dance, especially in North Karnataka. On all these occasions, the Dollu dance becomes the very centre of activity around which other important things get built up. Since this dance demands strength, muscle power and the spirit of endurance, only well-built sturdy persons of enough stamina alone can take to it.

Story of Dollu[edit]

A demon Dollasura worshiped Shiva devotedly and Lord Shiva appeared before him and asked him to ask for a boon, Dollasura asked that he should be able to swallow Shiva himself. The boon was granted and Dollasura swallowed Shiva. Shiva started growing big. The asura unable to bear the pain pleaded Shiva to come out. Shiva tore open the demon thus killing him and came out, Shiva used the skin of the asura to make a dollu/drum and gave it to the ganas/rustics to play it.

The Troupe[edit]

The troupe consists of about a dozen artistes as dancing partners. Against the background we have tala, tappadi, trumpets, gong and flute, raised to a high-pitched tenor. These instruments are perforce used to reinforce the rich vibrations of Dollu. A miniature model of Dollu, easy to carry in hand, and handle it for beating – is often employed while singing a distinct class of songs-Dollu Songs/Drum Songs. Because there is beating of Dollu here by the fingers.

Other Forms[edit]

  • Devare Thatte Kunitha
  • Yellammana Kunitha
  • Suggi Kunitha
  • Alagu Kunitha

External links[edit]