Highlights of 2005

  • The Hindu - Multiple Sclerosis Concert Info
  • Deccan Herald - Multiple Sclerosis Concert Review - Bangalore
  • The Indian Express - Basant Utsav Announcement - Bombay Jayashri and Leela Samson
  • Rajasthan Patrika - Sangeetha Choodamani Award
  • Deccan Chronicle - Sangeetha Choodamani Award
  • The Hindu - SVK - Gokulashtami Concert at KGS Review
  • The Hindu - B Ramadevi - Rajalakshmi Fine Arts Concert Review

    Obeisance to Tamil

    The September series was a treat for Coimbatore music lovers.

    O. S. Arun.

    Bombay Jayashri's concert at the Rajalakshmi Fine Arts for the September Season was an `araadhana' to Tamil music. With the theme `Azhagae, Thamizhe' she started on a winning spree with the anupallavi of the devout Abhogi krithi by Gopalakrishna Bharathi, `Sabhapathikku veru deivam.' After a leisurely alapana in Karaharapriya, she presented `Senthil Aandavan' by Papanasam Sivan. Her `Ragam, Tanam, Pallavi' was set in Mohanam and Kalyana vasantham.' `Pozhudhu migavachudhe' in Revathi by Ambhujam Krishna was moving.
    Her honeyed voice, blending with sruti transported the audience.
    V. V. S. Murari played in a subdued fashion in keeping with the mood of the evening while J. Vaidhyanathan on the mridangam and Trivandrum Rajagopal on the kanjira did their bit to complete the devotional experience.
    Good crowd

    O.S. Arun's `Bhajan Sandhya' drew a good crowd. `Vakkundaam,' the famous poem of Avvaiyar, the great devotee of Ganesha, marked the beginning of a sprightly session.

    Bombay Jayashree.

    He sang quite a few songs on Ganesha and propitiated Goddess Saraswathi with the shloka, `Ya kundhendhu' with `Veena vaadhini varadhe.' After the virutham `Uruvaay aruvaay' Arun sang `Ninaikkaadha neramillai' on Muruga. `Sakkhi hey, Keshi madhana mudaram,' an ashtapadi of Jayadeva was sung in different ragas and styles. `Yamunai nadhiye kannanai kandaayo?' following `Govinda, madhava' was very appealing.
    His selection comprised many composers, many languages and many styles.
    He remembered to render the usual favourites, `Bhagayada lakshmi', and `Mahadeva Shiva Shambho' and `Kurai onrum illai.'
    `Bhimaha maaruthi' on Anjaneya was brisk and lively. Endowed with a rich voice, with the right mix of Carnatic and Hindustani, O.S. Arun has mastered the art of offering people what they want.
    His accompanying team consisted of Vijayaraghavan (vioin), Kuldeep Pai (harmonium), Manikandan (mridangam) and Kiran kumar (tabla).

  • Mumbai Mirror - Chembur Fine Arts Concert Review

    Passing by
    ’I miss Chembur. It has given me so much’

    Janaki Krishnamoorthi, FAS
    Mellifluous music sans gimmicks and uncompromising adherence to the core tradition of Carnatic music were the hallmarks of Bombay Jayashri Ramnath’s vocal concert presented under the aegis of Chembur’s Fine Arts Society held recently. The crisp rendering of Todi Swarajati “Raave Himagiri Kumari”, poignant delineation of ragas Karaharapriya, followed by Krithi ‘Ramaa Nee Samana Mevaru and Kedaragoula in ragam tanam pallavi with their varied nuances, were the highlights of the cutcheri.

    “Jayashri has always been very particular about depicting ragas - she would practice meticulously till she was fully satisfied with their portrayal. Her other major strength is her soothing voice,” remarks Jyothi Mohan, a Bharatnatyam exponent who has known Jayashri from her early Mumbai days.

    Modestly attributing it all to the training imparted by her gurus, Jayashri says, “ I was fortunate to learn from great gurus and assimilate the nuances of music.”

    Assimilate she did with great ease says her Guru T.R. Balamani. “She was sincere, hard working and quick to grasp the intricacies,” she reminiscences.

    Jayashri began imbibing music at the age of three from her parents Seetha and N.N. Subramanian who were also Carnatic musicians. However at seven when her father passed away, her mother placed Jayashri under the tutelage of Guru Balamani where she learnt Carnatic music
    along with her teacher’s daughter Ranjani and the renowned Shankar Mahadevan “Our Guru was then staying in Matunga. Shankar and I used to commute together to the class by bus and sang through out the journey. We also used to have sev-puri at Matunga for just 25 paise! “ recalls Jayashri. And there are many such memories intertwined with Chembur and Mumbai for this now Chennai -based musician.

    “Chembur has given me a lot and I love the suburb, as also Mumbai,” pronounces Jayashri. “I used to enjoy my walks from Uttam Society (where she lived originally) to Chembur station through the then quiet lanes, my travel by suburban trains (though it is a nightmare now). I like the cosmopolitan nature of Mumbai and the way Mumbaikars utilise every second in life. But it is frightening to see the way Mumbai is getting crowded now,” she adds

    And she misses the typical Ganpati celebrations of Mumbai, Chembur’s Shiva temple and Ahoblila Mutt where she was a regular and of course the Mumbai delicacies - bhel, sev, dahi batata puri, pav bhaji, marathi jhunka, misal et al. Born in Calcutta, Jayashri moved to Mumbai in 1966 with her parents and initially lived in Uttam CHS, Chembur and later shifted to Swastik Park. A student of St. Anthony’s Girls School, Chembur, she completed her B.Com from Matunga’s Podar College and acquired a diploma in Carnatic music from Miraj-based Gandharva Mahavidyalaya She was also exposed to Hindustani classical music, bhajans, film music, Bharat Natyam and even theatre. And when she moved to Chennai in 1989 to hone her Carnatic music skills under violin maestro Lalgudi Jayaraman she began learning the veena. “Everything has contributed in some way to my music - be it in the form of knowledge or voice culture,” says the Carnatic vocalist who has also sung in films. She however derives utmost satisfaction from Carnatic music “Because it is in my blood,” she quips.

    Jayashri who feels it would be difficult to perform both in Carnatic and Hindustani classical fields because of the different mindsets, demands and style is also keen on singing film songs that would suit her style. And one who has performed with Egyptian, Arabic and Senegalese musicians in albums and conferences on world music, she is not against fusion music either. “Audiences enjoy such events and I see no harm in them as long as it is presented well, “ she opines.

    Jayashri who made her debut Carnatic concert in 1982 at Uttam CHS’ Ganesh Chaturti festival in Chembur has since given numerous performances all over India and abroad. She has released several albums, won many accolades. She is now promoting the rich legacy in literature by providing them a musical mould. One such recent venture is her operatic ballet based on the Tamil epic ‘Silapadhikaaram’ Of course a supportive life partner has made it all that much easier. Her husband Ramnath, a chartered accountant who loves music also helps in building her career. And it is but natural that their seven-year-old son Amrit should also love music.

  • The Hindu - Gowri - Hindu Fest Jugalbandi with Ronu Majumdar Announcement

    Childhood friends come together

    Steeped in their own traditions, Pt. Ronu Majumdar and Bombay Jayashri Ramnath are also well-acquainted with each other's genres.

    ``Want to learn this lori (lullaby) sung by mothers and grandmothers in my family,'' the boy asks. The girl learns it eagerly. Then she launches into a kriti in Kapinarayani. ``This is Jhinjoti!'' the boy exclaims and responds on his flute. Their common interest made Pt. Ronu Majumdar and Bombay Jayashri Ramnath friends from childhood.
    Young Ronu was trained in Hindustani music by father Dr. Bhanu Majumdar, Pt. Laxmanprasad Jaipurwale and Pt. Vijayraghav Rao.
    Jayashri's parents Sita and Subrahmaniam sang Carnatic music and nurtured it in their offspring. Jayashri was to hone the skills acquired from Guru T. R. Balamani in Mumbai with Guru Lalgudi Jayaraman in Chennai. Her induction into Hindustani music began at an inter-collegiate music competition, asked the winner if she would learn geet and bhajan from him.
    In Guru Jaipurwale's class she met young flautist Ronu, equally committed to music. Recalls Majumdar, ``Jayashri cut her first album of ghazals with the music I composed.'' Jayashri's shifting to Chennai did not end their friendship. She met Majumdar on her trips to Mumbai, sometimes between his recordings for films, mostly with R. D. Burman. He was also into Indi pop and fusion, whether with Remo Fernandes, with international celebrities from Ry Cooder to Jon Hassell, or touring with Ravi Shankar, a maestro of Majumdar's own Maihar gharana. He composed music for films and albums even as he continued his voyage with the classical bansuri. Exposure to fields beyond was an enrichment. His albums like ``Heart to Heart," ``Water Lily Acoustics," ``Etheral Rhythms'' and ``Mysticism on Woodwind'' were widely acclaimed.
    Classical vocalist

    Meanwhile Jayashri grew into a frontline classical vocalist, with forays into other ventures, from film song to composing music for the ballet `Silappadikaram.'
    She developed a style which accented raga bhava, increased her repertoire, fine-tuned her voice. Her purity of sruti is accented by the two tamburas flanking her on the stage. Jayashri also became known for her post-pallavi pieces. Her handling of the Hindustani ragas came in for special appreciation.
    Why did the singer give up Bharatanatyam, trained as she had been by doyen Mahalingam Pillai? ``One day my guru asked me to sit down beside him and sing for the other students who were dancing. He must have liked my singing, but I thought that he didn't want me to dance.''
    She refused to go back to his class. But that dance training gave her a feel for bhava and rasa in her music.
    Steeped in their own traditions, Pandit Ronu Majumdar and Bombay Jayashri Ramnath are also familiar with each other's genres, and individual styles. More, with their maturity and mutual rapport, their voice-wind blend at the inaugural concert of the Friday Music Festival (November 19, Music Academy, 7.15 p.m.) raises great expectations.
    (See tomorrow's MetroPlus for preview of Mandolin Srinivas and Sultan Khan concert.)

    I feel honoured' -- BOMBAY JAYASHRI

    SOUTH BLENDS WITH NORTH: Bombay Jayashri Ramnath teams up with Ronu Majumdar to open the Friday Review Music Festival on November 19.

    How interactive were your long ago musical exchanges with Ronu Majumdar in Mumbai?
    He'd play when I sang the kritis, exploring Khamas, Andolika or Mohanakalyani. He loved Sahana, and urge me to sing ``E Vasudha." You could listen to his Abhogi forever. My mother provided endless cups of tea to sustain us as we got lost in music!
    Isn't it rare to find a Hindustani artiste responding so much to Carnatic music?
    I've many friends who can't understand Carnatic music. But Ronu is comfortable with our gamakas, values those graces.
    Why didn't you do a jugalbandi until now?
    I was sceptical. Jamming at home is not jugalbandi! When the Friday Review Festival asked if I'd do something different, I thought it was time to try it out.
    With a hit like ``Vasikara," why didn't you do more playback singing?
    I've learnt a lot by singing for films - mike control, the importance of pronunciation, emotional effect, learning and recording there and then. This requires a different mindset. I'd hate to do a lot of it.
    What do you think of this festival?
    I feel honoured to be singing for a festival organised by The Hindu, which has done so much for our music.

    It's mutual affection' -- PT.
    Ronu Majumdar.

    Do you enjoy Carnatic music?
    Yes. My guru Pandit Vijayraghav Rao was from the south. He taught me the melakartas, the difference in approach to Hindustani and Carnatic ragas. I've learnt a lot from Kadri Gopalnath.
    It was a privilege to play with Dr. Balamuralikrishna.
    Indian music rates the instrument below the human voice. How confident are you when matched with a vocalist?
    For that crucial chemistry between the artistes you need understanding, care and mutual affection, not competitiveness and virtuosity.
    Used as they are to instrumental support, vocalists tend to treat the instrument as an accompaniment, even in a jugalbandi.
    That's what happened between Hariji (Chaurasia) and Kishoriji (Amonkar). I explain to my vocal partners that this is a dialogue between two minds.
    Is the balance more difficult with the delicate flute than with sitar or sarangi?
    Violin and sarangi have continuity like the voice. But the flute matches the voice most closely in sound. It can touch hearts just as much.
    How do you feel about the festival?
    I'm happy to participate in this festival conducted by a newspaper which has covered the real art and culture of India so consistently.

  • Deccan herald - Sumana Chandrashekar - Bio and Interview
  • Sify - Kalarasana Concert Review

    Jayashri makes a striking impact at Kalarasana

    By Sudha Jagannathan

    It was a rainy Saturday evening in Chennai. Braving the rains, many had queued up to Rani Seethai Hall in the heart of the city. It was not exactly overflowing. It was packed all the same. Bombay Jayashri did not disappoint those who had somehow made it to her concert on the evening of December 17, 2005. It was an exhilarating listening experience at Kalarasana for close to three hours.
    Jayashri gave an excellent start to concert by briskly delivering a kriti on Lord Ganesh composed by Ambi Dikshitar “Gana Nadaaya” in Raga Gaula. She straightaway made an impact on the audience with this Gana Raga. No sooner did she finish this kriti than she encountered problem with the audio system. Though she tried to fend it off by continuing her concert, the audio quality kept bothering her and upset her rhythm. It took a while for the authorities to set the audio system right. Once the audio quality problem was fixed, she settled down well to treat the assembled to some extraordinary quality music.
    Jayashri took up an attractive kriti of G.N.Balasubramaniam in Raga Nalinakanti “Ni Paadame Gati Nalinakantimati” and delivered it elegantly. Her presentation fell nicely on the ears. “Sivakama Sundari,” a lovely composition of Papanasam Sivan in Raga Mukari, was stimulating to hear. She then rendered a Tyagaraja kriti in Saranga “Emi Dova Palkuma” This kriti is packed with inspiring lyrics. She put everyone to ease with a Nilambari Raga. She gave a silken touch to Dikshitar’s “Amba Nilayadakshi,” which is peppered with delightful lyrics. Her melodious alapana in Kiravani revealed the Raga’s charm. Her captivating voice combined with a dedicated bhakthi made a striking impact on the listeners as well.
    She then unveiled a composition of Patnam Subramania Iyer “Varamula Sagi”. She decorated the kriti with delightful Gamakas and pleasing Niraval. She also rendered one another kriti of Papanasam Sivan in Kalyani Raga “Vayu Kumaran.” One does not hear this often in concert platforms. She made it a pleasing listening experience.
    Jayashri dealt with the Manodharma Sangeetham after this. She took up Raga Sama for improvisation (Ragam, Thanam and Pallavi). She did a brilliantly simple alapana. There was no extravaganza. Yet, it was superbly adequate. Violinist H.N.Bhaskar followed her quite nicely. Her Tanam singing as usual stood for her unhurried approach. She chose the Pallavi “Maniye Maniyin Oliye Abhiramiye, Mani Punainda Aniye Annai Abhiramiye.” She blended it with different ragas like “Valaji, Bagyashri and Revati” and reversed to the Pallavi line majestically.
    She pleasantly surprised the audience by presenting a few verses from “Mukuntha Mala” of Sri Kulashekara Perumal- Srirasagara, Anantha Vaikunta and Srinatha Narayana in raga Sindhubhairavi.The enchanting delivery revealed the effort put in by Jayashri behind the work. She presented one of her favourite songs “Kanna Vaa” in Raga Madhuvanti.
    Last but not the least, her Tillana in Raga Yamuna Kalyani was brilliantly executed with effortless ease. The tillana followed an Alwar Pasuram. As the audience was expecting more from her, she concluded the nearly three-hour concert with an invigorating Tillana. J.Vaidyanathan on mridangam and Trivandrum Rajagopal on Kanjira played enthusiastically throughout the concert.

  • The Hindu - Bharat Kalachar Concert Review
  • Sify - Sudha Jagannathan - KGS Concert Review

    A Merry Concert

    By Sudha Jagannathan

    The Christmas evening proved a joyous occasion for those who had made it to the concert of Jayashri Ramnath for Sri Krishna Gana Sabha. As the seats were filled long before the concert was started, the organizers had to accommodate many a rasika on the stage in a horseshoe formation along with the artistes.
    Jayashri had chosen a good many rakti ragas on this day. And, the audience was impressed. She was cool and composed and delivered the songs immaculately the way Steffi Graff would play her strokes on a tennis court. Jayashri’s concert was remarkable for its precision delivery.
    She commenced the concert by rendering a Dikshitar kriti “Sri Varalakshmi” in raga Sri. It was a good start. She then took up a Tyagaraja kriti “Neevada ne gana” in Saranga. She sprinkled it quite nicely with swaras, adding beauty to the whole exercise.
    Jayashri did an amazing alapana in raga Ananadabhairavi. “Himachala Tanayu Brochutaku,” a Shyama Sastri kriti with fine lyrics, made a good impact on the rasikas .She did a niraval with words “Kumara Janani Ni Samanamevaru.” It was packed with absorbing swaras and rhythm. Arunachala Kavi composition “Charanam Raghu Rama” in Asaveri was rendered with poise. She picked a Yadukulakambhoji for raga exposition.
    It was an expansive alapana. As she made a deep foray into it, assorted facet of the raga came out impressively. A Tyagaraja kriti “Ethavunu” was packed with lovely kalpana swaras and swara korvais. It was sung in an unhurried way. It was a controlled delivery, akin to the swing bowling of a medium pacer at Oval on a windy day.
    A Dikshitar kriti in raga Nasikabhooshani “Sri Ramaa Saraswathi” was delightful to the ears. It is a rare kriti on concert circuits. She then took up the RTP (ragam, thanam and pallavi) in raga Kanada. A pleasing rakti raga, Jayashri explored it with fineness. Her tanam-singing was majestic and drew applause from accompanying mridangist Satish Kumar. As she sang the pallavi line “Varada Vara Venkataramana Vaarana Bayanivarana,” Jayashri meshed it with wonderful ragas like Tilang, Valachi and Ranjani. Unlike her usual style, this time around she did not go for raga reversal. Her swara prayogams during the RTP were simple, elegant and outstanding.
    Post-RTP, she presented a few popular tukkadas. “Tottu Tottu Pesha Varan Kannan” in Bihag was charming. “Sarvam Brahma Mayam” in Darbari Kanada and a Tirupugazh were melodious to listen. The Tillana in Sivaranjani was fascinating and refreshingly different.
    Shriram Kumar on the Violin gave an elevation to the concert with his neat follow-up and just enough support to the vocalist. Satish Kumar on Mridangam and Trivandrum Rajagopal presented a good Tani.

  • The Hindu - Lakshmi Venkatraman - Parthasarathy Sabha Concert Review