Naranappa Uppoor

Naranappa Uppoor

Naranappa Uppoor (1918–1984) was a famous Yakshagana singer or bhagavath of Yakshagana art. He was famous for his voice, knowledge of tradition and heritage of Yakshagana.

Narnappa Uppoor was born at Marvi, near Thattuvattu, a small village in Udupi Taluk, India; his father name is Marvi Srinivasa Uppoor. His father was his guru in Yakshagana. Marvi Srinivasa Uppoor was himself a bhagavath or Yakshagana singer for forty years and he was known for a distinct style of singing called "Marvi Style" and his brother Vasudeva uppoor was a maddale player for Yakshagana. Naranappa Uppoor leart singing as well as other aspects of Yakshagana from his father and family circle.

Contribution to YakshaganaNaranappa Uppoor started as Bhagavatha (singer) in Sri Amrutheshwari Mela, Kota in 1937. He was one of the notable background singers of 20th Century. In his career of more than four decades, he has worked as bhagavatha in several Yakshagana troupes, including Sri Amrutheshwari Yakshagana Mandali, Kota, and other melas located at Saligrama, Soukur, Idugunji, Kollur, Maranakatte etc. He was knowing 40 prasangas (story poems) by heart and he could sing 60 yakshagana ragas (tunes).

Dr. KaranthNaranappa Uppoor actively involved with experiments of Dr. Shivarama Karanth in the field of Yakshagana. Dr. Karanth tried various reformations to Yakshagana, one being reduction of total time of the performance from earlier 8–10 hours to 2–3 hours. Another bold experiment by Dr. Karanth was Yakshagana Byale, where ballet techniques are mingled with Yakshagana dance and together they produced Krishnarjuna Kalaga, Yakshagana ballet which was applauded by art lovers of Mumbai in 1968.

He authored Yakshagana Adhyayana, a book dedicated to ancient heritage of Yakshagana, which include yakshagana syllabus for learners also.

Yakshagana Teacher - He has trained several students in yakshagana background singing and several such students have become good bhagavaths. Most famous of his student was Kalinga Navada, who was said to have inherited Narnappa Uppoor's style of singing. Subrahmanya Dhareshwar, another famous bhagavath of coastal Karnatak learnt bhagavathike(singing) from Naranappa Uppoor. He also encouraged other background artists like Maddale beaters. Kalinga Navada, famous Yakshagana singer was trained as bhagavatha by Uppoor.

On 12 April 1984, Bhagavatha Narnappa Uppoor suffered heart attack when singing for Amrutheshwari Yakshagana troupe (his first employer) during a public performance and succumbed later on the same day.