Here’s a thinking musician: on Bombay Jayashri


Bombay Jayashri enlivened the evening with her supple voice

Bombay Jayashri’s silken voice that creates a meditative mood, and her musical prowess that establishes a rapport with the audience made her concert one of the most melodious in the first week of the season at this sabha.

As for her being a thinking singer, it came through in her Ranjani alapana. Providing a wholesome musical experience, the vocalist played with every mellifluous phrase from the Lalgudi bani combining it with her own rakti prayogas of Ranjani. The full-throated take-offs were contrasted beautifully with the softer glides. The Ranjani kriti ‘Paramapavana,’ was decorated with racy swaraprasthara.

Characteristic touches

Jayashri began with a varnam, ‘Sri Rajamatangi’ in Suddha Dhanyasi. Following it up with a brief Atana expansion, she rendered Tyagaraja’s ‘Anupama Gunambudi.’ Another major raga was Begada. While Jayashri dived smoothly to the lower octave, her characteristic touches were evident in the middle octave. She rounded off the Begada exposition after scaling the higher rishaba.

Tara sthayi phrasing dominated violinist Mysore V. Srikanth’s thoughtful response. This was followed by ‘Vaa Murugaa Vaa’ (Begada). Jayasri positioned the niraval on ‘Thaen madura suvaiye vaa,’ where the composer praises the sweetness of Muruga, comparing it to nectar. The vocalist then came up with swaraprastharas at different places, ‘Muruga,’ ‘Lavanya,’ ‘Karunya’ and so on, thus warming up to an excellent repartee from the violinist.

Next it was time for RTP. The grandeur of Bhairavi came in two stages. The tanam aroused a sense of calmness as Jayashri’s voice smoothly traversed the highs and lows, inspiring the violinist too in the process. Well-versed violinists such as Srikanth use that special springing bowing technique during tanam.

The pallavi in Bhairavi ‘Lalithe Sivavanithe Sowbaagyade Maampaahi’ (Tisra Jhampa tala in Misra Nadai) was embellished with niraval and swaraprasthara. Manoj Siva (mridangam) and B.S. Purushotham (ganjira) provided an energetic take on the pallavi and a wonderful thani.

Renuka Suryanarayanan
The Hindu