Music Magnifique

 24 Sept 2017
Celebration of life. For well-known Carnatic vocalist and composer Bombay Jayashri, festivals are all about that.

Why is it that a certain raga or kriti or even a film song moves you to tears, stirs something within you, or takes you to a blissful state? It is the magical power of music, says wellknown Carnatic vocalist and composer Bombay Jayashri who feels that those who manage to establish this connect are extremely lucky.“I sometimes marvel at this enigma called music.What is it about music that even a few seconds of listening to it can move you so much? I find it to be a beautiful gift to the world and am grateful for it,“ she says. And those who have heard her soulful singing will agree wholeheartedly. At a subtle level music is a mode of communication and every place has a unique identifiable way of responding to it whether it is Chennai, Mumbai or Delhi or even places such as the US or Europe, she says. It connects people and results in exchange of thoughts and ideas for the few hours that a concert is on.

For Jayashri, everything is a celebration of life. Especially festivals such as Navratri.“There is something beautiful about the festival which is beyond the mythological stories associated with it, beyond rituals or religion. As a child growing up in Mumbai, I saw every community come together to celebrate festivals.It was about song, dance, food and colour. It is about togetherness and celebration.This is the point that we need to get across to the next generation,“ she says.Navratri in Chennai usually heralds the beginning of the music season which culminates with Margazhi, the December music festival. It is no longer the case, says Jayashri.“Now there are concerts happening all round the year in the city or across the country or some part of the globe.This has been possible with people becoming aware of whatever is happening around the globe on real time basis. Of course, Margazhi will always be special,“ she says.

So is there a particular place where she loves to perform? “While I can’t think of a particular place like that, I do love to perform at Kapaleeshwarar Kovil.There is something about the deity and the audience there that gives you a sense of joy while performing that one cannot explain.There are people who come there every day and think of the temple as home. Performing in front of hundreds of such people creates a fantastic vibration in the atmosphere,“ Jayashri says.

There are times during her performance when she feels that her understanding of some ragas or groups of swaras are enhanced and then there are times that swaras she has grown up or made friends with, throw up surprises.That is the unpredictability of music, she adds. Among the things that have enriched her music or taught her something are also her students. Apart from being reminders of her childhood, the million questions and doubts that they have and their earnestness in learning have been very enriching and has made her ponder about various aspects of music, the vocalist and composer says.“Like I mentioned, everything is a celebration. For example learning to sing, dance or even draw the kolam at a later stage in your life is a celebration of life.That is the beauty of our traditions. Like drawing a kolam; it is between you and your aesthetics.They are conversations with yourself,“ she says.