Sounds of Yellamma: Chowdki and Shruti Players

Sounds of Yellamma: Chowdki and Shruti Players

in Video
Published on: 01 June 2021

Shilpa Mudbi Kothakota

Shilpa is a filmmaker, theatre practitioner and singer. She has made films on agriculture, rural development and women's empowerment for the Karnataka State Department of Agriculture, the University of Agricultural Sciences, Samvada-Baduku and Karnataka Mahila Samkhya. In 2017, Shilpa along with her husband, Adithya Kothakota, founded Urban Folk Project.

Performances and interview of shruti and chowdki players.

The musical instruments form an integral part of ritual performance. The artists/practitioners who perform the Jogathy Nruthya, for instance, have mastered the art of playing the twin instruments, shruti and chowdki, to aid the high-energy folk dance performed by transgender disciples of Yellamma. The Jogathy Nruthya is the ritual performance of the Jogathy community, featuring songs dedicated to the Goddess Yellamma. These performances have become part of the tapestry of folk art practice in Karnataka. It is widely believed that these instruments were created by Yellamma herself. Yellamma is the goddess of the Jogathy and Devadasi communities. She is a powerful figure and has shrines across southern India. It is her story that is performed during the yellammanaata mela. Yellammanaata is a ritualistic overnight play hosted mostly during the Dussera season by lower-caste Hindus around parts of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and the Southern Maharashtra region.