Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Friday, Sep 17, 2004

About Us
Contact Us
Tamil Nadu
News: Front Page | National | Tamil Nadu | Andhra Pradesh | Karnataka | Kerala | New Delhi | Other States | International | Opinion | Business | Sport | Miscellaneous |
Advts:
Classifieds | Employment |

Tamil Nadu Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

The violin and the voice

By Garimella Subramaniam

CHENNAI, SEPT. 16. Lalgudi G. Jayaraman, who enters his 75th year on September 17, is synonymous with the violin in Carnatic music today. This is a distinction with few parallels.

Equally noteworthy is the vocalist style of rendering violin recitals that is uniquely his. Is the Lalgudi style, some may wonder, one where the violin is the proxy for the human voice?

His great-grandfather, the vocalist Rama Iyer (1807-1867), came under the direct tutelage of the saint-composer Thyagaraja. Legend has it that the latter's visit to Lalgudi was in response to his disciple's entreaties. It is believed that Thyagaraja composed the Lalgudi Pancharatnam series on the village deity Saptarishisa and His consort Pravriddha Srimathi during that trip. This influence of Thyagaraja possibly explains why generations of "Lalgudis" — all of them violinists — also laid strong emphasis on vocal music.

Adapting to changes

By the beginning of the 19th century, the bhagavatars and vidwans had taken to the European violin in a big way. Baluswami Dikshitar, the brother of Muthuswamy Dikshitar, and Vadivelu of the Tanjore quartet, had earned a reputation as violinists. Despite their proximity to the Thyagaraja era, the Lalgudis were quick to adapt to these changes.

Jayaraman's grandfather Valadi Radhakrishna Iyer distinguished himself on the violin and was appointed court musician of Ramanathapuram. Jayaraman's paternal uncle, Madurai Kandaswami Bhagavatar, was considered the finest musician of southern India. By the time Jayaraman's father, V.R. Gopala Iyer, established the Sarada Sangeeta Vidyasala in the early 20th century, the violin had well and truly become the Lalgudis' own fiddle.

Innate talent

Jayaraman's career as an accompanying violinist started in 1942, when he was 12.

His conformity to the role of a `sideman', as accompanists were referred, and display of innate talent endeared him to stalwart vocalists.

He emerged as a full-fledged soloist in 1958. An array of Varnams, Kritis and Thillanas then made a periodic appearance during the annual Gokulashtami celebrations at the Krishna Gana Sabha in Chennai.

Printer friendly page  
Send this article to Friends by E-Mail

Tamil Nadu

News: Front Page | National | Tamil Nadu | Andhra Pradesh | Karnataka | Kerala | New Delhi | Other States | International | Opinion | Business | Sport | Miscellaneous |
Advts:
Classifieds | Employment | Updates: Breaking News |


News Update


The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | The Sportstar | Frontline | The Hindu eBooks | Home |

Copyright 2004, The Hindu. Republication or redissemination of the contents of this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of The Hindu