Yamunabai Waikar

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Yamunabai Waikar
OccupationFolk artist
Awards Padma Shri
Sangeet Natak Akademi Award
Maharashtra State Award
Ahilyabai Holkar Award
Nilu Phule Samman
SNA Tagore Ratna Samman
Aditya Vikram Birla Kalasikhara Award
Rasikmani Shrikrishna Pandit Uttung Gunagaurav Award
WebsiteOfficial web site

Yamunabai Waikar, née Yamunabai Vikram Jawle [1] was an Indian folk artist, [2] known for her expertise in the Marathi folk traditions of Lavani and Tamasha, folk art forms involving music and dance and reported to be one of the leading exponents of the art genres. [1] [3] [4] A recipient of the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, [5] she was honored by the Government of India, in 2012, with the fourth highest Indian civilian award of Padma Shri. [6]



At the beginning, we sang the traditional laavnis, but when we realised that people liked to listen to film songs, we added those to our repertoire too, reminiscneces Yamnubai, on her Mumbai street days. [7]
Lavani dancers from sangeet bari genre don’t use their full names. They use their initial name and afterwards a name of a encampment as their last, and supplement ‘kar’ to it, such as Shakuntala Nagarkar, writes Bhushan Korgaonkar, author of Sangeet Bari, a book on Lavani [8]

Yamunabai was born in Nunekalame village near Mahabaleshwar, in Satara district of Maharashtra in a family belonging to the Kolhati community. [9] [10] Her father was reported to be a drunkard and her mother busked and Yamnunabai, being the eldest of the five children, performed street dances with her mother. [7] At the age of 10, she joined a folk art group from where she had her first lessons of Lavani. Later, when her father joined them, the family formed a Tamasha troupe with her father playing the Dholki while Bai and her cousin danced. [7]

Looking for better earnings, the family moved to Mumbai and Yamunabai started performing Lavani and film songs on the streets of Mumbai. Encouraged by the success of her street shows, she did a stage show, which launched her stage career lasting till 1975, when the popularity of cinema and diminishing audience affected the returns. [7] Though Yamunabai tried to revive her career once again forming a new troupe, gathering her nieces, the attempt was not successful. During this period, she is reported to have a completed a low cost housing project for the members of the Kolhati tribe, the tribe where she came from. [7]

Yamunabai has shared the stage with the renowned Kathak guru, Birju Maharaj, who is reported to have appreciated her performance in 1975, staged in Delhi. [8] The performance helped to revive her career once again and she had opportunity to perform in other parts of the country such as Kolkata, Bhopal, Raipur. [7]

Awards and recognitions

Yamunabai Waikar is a recipient of several awards and honours such as the

See also

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