Farley P. Richmond
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Video Media

Madhu
In this all too brief clip Margi Madhu, a prominent young kutiyattam artist, performs the role of Ravana, the Demon King of Lanka. The piece features Madhu in rehearsal dress in the Sanskrit play The Wondrous Crest Jewel, Ascaryacudamani of Saktibhadra. To be more precise the action takes place at the very beginning of the third day nirvahana, or story elaboration. Ravana expresses his lust for Sita, wife of Sri Rama, his sworn enemy. According to a curse, Ravana cannot take Sita against her will otherwise he will looses his powers of invincibility. For nearly three and a half hours Madhu explores the demon’s cravings for this unattainable beauty. The recording was made in late 2006.

Video Video Clip

Surpanakha
On the final night of a five-night performance of Surpanakha, Act six of The Wondrous Crest Jewel, Rama, Sita, and Laksmana, are found on the stage awaiting the arrival of Surpanakha, demon sister of Ravana. Lakshmana has bloodily disfigured the demoness. She makes a slow but spectacular entrance through the audience in this temple performance. Kalamandalam Rama Cakyar, my teacher, plays Surpanakha. A complete nineteen-hour recording of the performance was made in 2006.

Video Video Clip

Bali Temple Festival
The recording begins just outside a Balinese temple in the early morning hours just before the ritual climax of an annual festival. Devotees of this particular temple gather to witness a performance of a highly sacred event in which five ritual activities are to take place simultaneously. Dr. Neoman Sedana kindly accompanied me to the extraordinary event during the summer of 1997.

Video Video Clip

Balinese Shadow Puppets and Holy Water
It is early morning in a small family compound in north Bali. A puppeteer prepares to make holy water using his puppets to complete the ritual process. Householders use the holy water for purification ceremonies associated with a tooth filing and a name changing ceremony. This recording was made in 1997.

Video Video Clip


Audio Media

Ankiya Nat
This short illustration of Ankiya Nat was recorded in an ashram in the state of Assam in 1969. Amateurs who participate out of intense religious devotion to Lord Krishna normally perform the music and acting in the short one-act plays.

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Bhagavata Mela
This brief excerpt from an all night performance of Bhagavata Mela was recorded in the village of Melatur in the state of Tamil Nadu, south India in 1969. Amateurs normally perform Bhagavata Mela as an annual ritual offering to Lord Krishna. It borrows heavily on the south Indian classical music and dance traditions of the region.

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Bhavai
Bhavai is a genre of folk performance unique in the villages of Gujarat and parts of Rajasthan in west India. Performers travel from village to village performing short plays satirizing familiar rural personalities. Unique six-foot long copper bugles, known as bhungals, provide a background rhythm for the dances and songs.

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Kuchipudi
Kuchipudi is a genre of theatre performance as well as a popular style of classical Indian dance. It is unique to Andhra State, south India. This recording was made in 1969 in the village of Kuchipudi and contains some of the characteristics of south Indian classical music.

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Langa
There are three separate illustrations of Langa Gypsy music of the Rajasthan, a colorful desert region of west India. The recordings were made in the audience hall of the palace of the Maharaja of Dundlod in 1998.

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Phad
Phad is performed by itinerate musician families, a husband and wife, who travel the desert region of Rajasthan. When commissioned to perform they hang a large painting on a large wall of a village compound. The painting illustrates familiar local historic characters. The woman sings in a high pitch. Her husband responds in song while playing a simple violin. When he dances ankle bells help to articulate the rhythms of the songs. The recording was made in 1998.

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Swang
Swang is a genre of rural performance found in north India, particularly in Harayana state. Generally there are a number of musicians, singers, and dancers in a company. This brief illustration was recorded in the palace grounds of the Maharaja of Dundlod during a rural theatre festival in 1998.

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Yakshagana
Yakshagana, song of the heavenly yakshas, is a genre of rural performance unique to Karnataka state, south India. Raspy-throated actors speak the dialogue in the local language and highly accomplished musicians sing the background songs of the plays, many of which concern characters from the Hindu epic literature, primarily the Mahabharata. The recording was made in a village in south Kanara in 1970. Dr. Martha Ashton, the yakshagana expert, introduced me to this genre of performance during her Ph.D. research.

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The University of Georgia Franklin College Department of Theatre and Film Studies