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Burra Katha, a Folk Art form of Storytelling

Burra Katha was in news because one of the last exponents of Burra Katha passed away on 12 August 2014.

Aug 13, 2014 16:50 IST
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Burra Katha was in news because one of the last exponents of Burra Katha passed away on 12 August 2014.  Burra Katha or Burrakatha is a Telugu art of oral storytelling. It is performed in Coastal Andhra region, Rayalaseema and Telangana.  

The term Burra refers to tambura and Katha means a story. Thus, Burra Katha is an art of storytelling in which narrator plays tambura while narrating.

Burra Katha, a narrative art, consists of prayers, dance, songs, poems and jokes. The topic of the narrative would be a mythological issue or a social one.

Different names of Burra Katha
• In Coastal Andhra region, Burra Katha is known as jangam katha.
• In Rayalseema region of Andhra Pradesh, it is known by the name Tandana katha or suddulu.
• In Telangana, it is known as tamboorakatha or saradakatha.

Performers of Burra Katha

• The group of Burra Katha performers comprises of one chief performer and two co-performers.
• Burrakatha narrators are called Saradagallu.  
• The chief storyteller is known as kathakudu who narrates the whole story while dancing and playing tambura, a musical instrument. He wears anklets while performing the Katha.
• The co-performers help the narrator by playing small drums called gummeta.

Popular performers of Burra Katha
• Pendyala Venkateswarrao
• Paruchuri Ramakotayya
• Kosuri Punnayya
• Kakumanu Subbarao
• Mahankali Lakshmi
• Moturi Udayam

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