H.R. Keshava Murthy, a senior gamaka exponent, who was honoured with Padma Shri earlier this year, passed away. He was born in a family of gamaka artists. He had his initial training from his father Ramaswamy Shastry. Under the guidance of Venkateshaiah he continued his studies. Over the decades he has presented hundreds of programmes and trained many students. Through his performances, he publicised noted Kannada epics. Hosahalli, his native place, is known for many music talents.
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Awards and Honours:
Keshava Murthy has been honored with many awards inlcuding Shantala Natya Shri award, by the State government and different cultural organisations. The President honoured him with the Padma Shri this year. The residents of his village celebrated the occasion.
What is Gamaka?
- Gamaka, also known as kaavya vaachana, is a form of storytelling by singing that originated in Karnataka, India. One person reads a stanza of a poem with highest emphasis on meaning, applying suitable raga or a dhaati (melodic line), usually matching the emotion of the poem; the song generally has no established rhythm.
- Another person then explains the meaning of the stanza with examples and anecdotes. Gamaka draws ragas from Kannada folk music, Yakshagana and Carnatic music. The singing itself is called gamaka and the singer a gamaki. The explanation of the rendering is called vyakyana. The emphasis in kaavya vaachana is on literature (Saahithya) and not on music where singer splits, compounds words in poems to make them easier to understand.