Posted On Saturday, August 18, 2012 at 08:51:54 AM
It is the enrapturing silence that you enjoy the most in Bombay Jayashri Ramanath’s music. The stillness which has come to define her music – the silence that lies between the notes.
Jayashri is just back from Ireland where she performed the compositions of the celebrated Finnish composer Eero Hämeenniemi at The Cathedral Church of St Canice courtesy the Kilkenny International Festival.
Every attempt to pigeonhole her musical dexterity meets with definite failure. A compulsive globe trotter, to say that Jayashri is definitive of the new age Indian musician would be a truism — uncompromising in her adherence to the core tradition of classical Carnatic music as well as a ceaseless quest for quality music in any form.
A worthy successor to the legacy of her guru, legendary violinist Lalgudi Jayaraman, her richly textured voice has taken the humble strains of Carnatic music far and wide.
Though born in Kolkata, Bombay was prefixed to her name because she grew up there. Jayashri accepts the city has played a central role in shaping her musical identity and ethos.
“There is a tradition to prefix the name of the place in Carnatic music as a way of identification - one could gauge the lineage style and musical upbringing of the person.
In my case, it was coined Bombay by a renowned critic Subbuduji. I personally am grateful for growing up in Bombay and am certain my music and musicality has been nurtured by Bombay and its spirit,” she reasons.
A pedigreed musician, Jayashri has been groomed by the iconic violinist Lalgudi Jayaraman. About her guru, she reminisces, “It is the biggest achievement of my life to have been his disciple. He hand held me into this path with great patience and care and helped me to have faith in myself.
Though he was an instrumentalist, he completely understood the working of the voice and how to present it most effectively. He has helped me bring out the best in my voice.” Jayashri also reserves the rare distinction of being the first Carnatic classical performer in the Opera House in Durban and the Russian Opera House in Helsinki, Finland.
Her training in Hindustani Classical system has further helped her in this musical odyssey. A case in point is her 2010 release with noted flautist Pt Ronu Majumdar called Wind Song. Her renditions of bhajans in the Hindustani tradition evoke an entirely new aesthetics.
She explains, “All divides are created by us including this perceived chasm between the two music styles. Music is to be sought and not fragmented. I learnt Hindustani because I love it too and it has helped my music.”
Jayashri’s limited foray into film music has won her the Flimfare award for the popular Vaseegara that has drawn a new class of listeners and entered national consciousness as Zara Zara in the Hindi remake of the film.
“Besides classical, I regularly listened to Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Mohammed Rafi, Mehdi Hasan – it created a desire for me to try out different possibilities and I would always love to embrace it.” Catch her perform at Alpa Bachat Bhawan, Camp, today, 5.15 pm.