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Bombay Jayashri – A Lilting Concert In The Lalgudi Tradition

Pravin Sitaram

Fall in New England is known for its myriad of colors and its ethereal beauty. In the same vein Boston rasikas were treated to a myriad of musical colors by Smt. Bombay Jayashri at the Chinmaya Mission Auditorium in Andover MA on October 23, 2016. She was ably accompanied on the Violin by Vidwan Embar Kannan (Guru Sangita Kalanidhi Designate Guru A. Kanyakumari, Shri V. V. Ramanamurthy (Guru - Sri. Vankayala Narasimham) and Kanjira Shri K. V. Gopalakrishnan (Gurus – Shri K. V. R. S. Mani & Sangita Kalanidhi Dr. T. K Murthy).

The Chinmaya Mission in Andover has been organizing concerts by leading musicians on a regular basis at their auditorium in Andover. We have been treated to concerts by leading Vidwans like Shri Sanjay Subramaniam, Sister Duos Ranjani & Gayathri, Mandolin Srinivas to name a few. This concert was yet another feather in the cap of Smt. Durga Krishnan who has been tirelessly organizing these concerts bringing top-notch artistes to Massachusetts. As always, the auditorium was jam packed well before 5pm and the concert started as per tradition at Chinmaya – ON TIME.

Smt. Jayashri began her concert with an invocation to Goddess Saraswati and followed this with ever popular Bagananayya in the Ragam Chandrajyothi – a composition of Saint Thyagaraja. This was followed by another popular krithi Ranjani Niranjani in the ragam Ranjani. She then took up the ragam Begada and presented it in its ever resplendent beauty with nuanced phrases. Sankari Neeve, the beautiful composition of Sri Syama Sastri was presented. The main Pakkala NIlabadi, a composition of Saint Thyagaraja, in the ragam Kharaharapriya was presented by the team in an unhurried pace Smt. Jayashri and Shri Kannan presented beautiful raga alapanas exploring the many nuances of this ragam. The team then presented a short but beautiful RTP in Behag. The ragam was brief but appropriate, followed by a lilting Thanam. The percussion vidwans presented a very nice Thani Avarthanam following the Pallavi.  Unfortunately, a whole section of the audience rudely got up and walked out during the thani. This is very disappointing – people have the patience to sit for 2.5 hours to listen to the entire concert but can’t wait 10 minutes for the percussive team to present their talent.

Following the Pallavi, Smt. Jayashri presented a viruttam in Ragam Subhapantuvarali followed by Aye Giridhar a compositon of Shri Swati Tirunal. This was followed by a beautiful rendition of Ondhubare in Sindhu Bhairavi a composition by Vyasa Raya and Cinnanjiru kiLiyE, the popular compositon of Shri Subramania Bharathi.  Smt. Jayashri’s enunciation of the lyrics in each of these pieces along with her bhava laden singing really moved the audience. The concert concluded with Sri Lalgudi Jayaraman’s (Smt. Jayashri’s guru) gem of a Thillana in the Raga Madhuvanthi. One could tell she had learnt it directly from the master composer and the treatment was so wonderful – it showed the loving care with which the Guru composed and taught to the student and the student treating it with even more care and presenting it to the audience. Simply memorable.

Overall, it was a very nice concert with a good mixture of the popular and the eclectic – Raga, Bhava and Laya were all on full display on this pleasant fall evening.  Boston Rasikas are now waiting with bated breath for the lineup in 2017………….Durgaji…over to you.

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