Born in 1927 in the village of Gunavante, Karnataka, Shri Keremane Mahabala Hegde was initiated in Yakshagana by his uncle Shri Keremane Shivarama Hegde, a well known performer. He joined the troupe led by his uncle — the Idagunji Mahaganapati Yaksha- gana Mandali — as a boy of 12. Subsequently, Shri Keremane Mahabala Hegde was trained in Hastabhinaya by Shri Mudkani Narayana Hegde and in Bhagavatike by his grandfather Shri Mahabala Hegde, The principal actor in the Idagunji Mandali till 1969, Shri Keremane Mahabala Hegde has also worked in other Yakshagana troupes including the Amriteshwari Yakshagana Mandali and the Durgapara- meshwari Yakshagana Mandali. He has excelled in a variety of roles including Ashwatthama, Arjuna, Karna, Krishna, and Duryodhana. He has demons- trated Yakshagana at Ninasam, Heggodu, and conducted training courses in the art at home and abroad, Shri Keremane Mahabala Hegde has performed extensively in Karnataka and presented Yakshagana abroad. Shri KeremaneMahabala Hegde receives the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for his contribution to Yakshagana.