'Recognise rural talent'

'Recognise rural talent'

Folk artiste, tamate player selected for Nadoja award

'Recognise rural talent'

P Munikrishnappa

Hailing from Pindipapanahalli, Shidlaghatta taluk, Chikkaballapur district, Munivenkatappa (60), has studied only upto 4th standard. But his skill at playing tamate, a rural percussion instrument is beyond measure. The Kannada Varsity at Hampi has selected him  for this year’s Nadoja award and he did not even know the meaning of the word. When explained that it means is a maestro in playing tamate, his eyes twinkled.

A farmer, he grows Ragi millet in 2 acres of land and eats only ‘ragi mudde’. Always dressed in white Munivenkatappa  has travelled in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Mumbai, Delhi and even to Japan, mersmerising his audience with thunderous performance of tamate.

“ I started playing tamate since I was 16. My father Papanna, was a great performer and he taught me. I am the eldest in the family of four sons. My younger brother also plays.” he said.

Usually tamate players play 5 to 6 kinds of beat but Muniventappa plays more than 33 beats.  Some of them are his own inventions. His passion for percussion instruments is so intense that he has excelled in drums, tase and dolu (two more folk instruments).

He has trained around 30 students who are carrying on his legend all over the State.
In 1992 the Department of Kannada and Culture sent him to Osaka, Japan to perform at an international cultural meet. The same year he was conferred the Rajyotsava award. He also has received L Basavaraju folk award, Janapada Academy award and several others.


“ The government and  public should recognise rural talent and encourage them. They must be  awarded. Only then can we preserve our folk culture. People in the City usually look down upon tamate artistes because it is played by dalits. I have had several instances when I have carried tamate in buses. Such attitude should change. Folk artistes should be given their due,” he said.