Tuesday, May 30, 2023


Professional Religious Singers

Religious singers are (1) Kamsale (2) Neelagaru (3) Chowdike  
(4) Gorava (5) Gane

Professional religious singers sing only those songs which concern their chosen gods, pilgrim centres and temples. Their main purpose is to propagate the supremacy and philosophy of their particular religion to inculcate values and norms in the community. Professional singers are characterised by traditional colourful costumes and conspicuous musical instruments. They command great respect  and take active participation in all the religious celebrations of their community. 

(1) Kamsale

Kamsale' Kamsale' popularly known as 'Devadraguddas' are the disciples of Lord Madayya. 'Kamsale Mela' is a popular folk song which deals with the history of 'Mahadeshwara' (worshipping deity) of Mahadeshwara hills, a renowned pilgrim centre, situated in Mysore district. 

The name 'Kamsale' is derived from the traditional musical instrument. It is a unique musical instrument consisting of two bronze plates. The bronze cymbal is in the form of a cup with a broad base. The other plate is a flat structure with a tassel tied in the centre. The cup is held in the left hand and with the help of the tassel the flat plate is held in the right hand and the singer clashes both of them rhythmically during the performances.

'Kamsale' singers sing either individually or in a group. when in group, this form becomes a mela and consists of three members. The main performer plays the 'Kamsale' instrument, supported by two artistes in the background playing an instrument-the 'Dammadi' and the 'Yekatari'-single-stringed musical instrument. The performance consists of narration by the chief singer, who pauses in between to interpret the story. The Kamsale artists do not wear any traditional costumes. Their dressing is simple, they wear 'Rudraksha' beads; their religious emblem and carry a  satchel. They are illiterates and have no printed literature. They learn those songs orally. They participate in fairs, which are held in Mahadeshwara hills during 'Diwali', 'Shivaratri' and 'Ugadi' festivals and are found extensively in Mysore, Mandya and Bangalore districts of the state.


(2) Neelagarus

'Neelagarus' popularly known as 'Manteswamys' belong to a religious sect called 'Manteswamy' and they sing praises of the virtues and supernatural powers of their deity. 'Manteswamy' or Siddappaji was a renowned religious personality endowed with supernatural powers with an objective of spreading the 'Bhakti' cult and incubate moral  virtues among the people.

'Neelagarus' play an impressive folk instrument known as 'Tamburi' which is a long four-stringed instrument with lion or snake face made of wood. The song mela usually comprises of four to five members. The main performer plays the 'Tamburi' whereas the other artistes sing in the background and play instruments like a small kettle drum called the 'Dakke' and small cymbals.

The costume  of these artists consists of a head gear, a coloured dhoti and a 'Jubba' and they apply sandal paste and sacred ash on their foreheads. Only those who undergo the consecration ceremony in the religious mutts are qualified to practice such religious singing as a profession. They wear 'Rudrakshi' beads and carry a satchel. These artistes participate during fairs held annually in places like Chikkalur, Kapadi  and Bophanagowdanapura in Mandya district. They are found in Kanakapura, Malavalli, Ramanagaram, Channapatna, Maddur, Mandya, 

T. Narasipura, Pandavapura, Heggadadevanakote, Mysore and Hunsur.