I recently was fortunate enough to meet with a Legend in Carnatic Music, Violinist and musician par execellence Lalgudi Jayaraman at his home in early 2011. We had a short music session in which he asked me to sing a song. I chose a krithi and sang it. He immediately asked me if I knew the meaning. He then explained the meaning of the krithi and proceeded to a neraval at the charanam line.
Though, he was not in the best of health, the maestro was extremely enthusiastic with the neraval and rhythmic swarams. Furthermore, using the same construction as the song, he set up a pallavi and commenced singing it in the same ragam. As a student of this artform, it was a humbling and inspiring experience to be in his presence and to experience his musicianship at close quarters. A contemporary yet lyrical genius!!
Maestro Lalgudi Jayaraman is world renowned for his fascinating style of violin playing. Beginning his illustrious career at the age of 12, Padmabhushan Lalgudi Jayaraman established his own style which came to be known as the “Lalgudi Bani”. The scintillating blend of raga, bhava, laya combined with depth, innovation, classicism and gracefulness has made Shri Lalgudi Jayaraman an iconic figure in the world of Carnatic Music. Shri Lalgudi Jayaraman’s instrumental genious comes to the fore especially when he exhibits his knowledge of lyrical content in compositions. According to his daughter Lalgudi Vijaylakshmi, “he visualises the sahitya and this translates into a flow of music.” This knowledge is further noted through his extensive compositions.
He is considered to be one of the most prolific composers in recent times. The characteristic style, melody, depth and subtle rhythmic intricacies have made his compositions highly captivating for audiences and musicians alike. His array of thillanas, varnams, pada varnams and krithis are widely rendered in concerts today. Many of his thillanas and varnams are very popular with Bharatanatyam dancers as well.