Veena Vocal Concerts

54th Spirit of India Concerts 2015


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The atmosphere was thick with anticipation. From the very moment she began to fine-tune the strings we were captivated; those first strains of the shadjam and panchamam resounded strikingly in the silent auditorium and provided a glimpse of the exquisitely resonant nAdam of the Saraswati Veena.

With a demure smile, Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh opened the concert with an alApana in the vibrant hamsadhwani, coaxing its often hidden sweeter tones out of the veena by dwelling in the nishAda and gAndhAra swaras. The evergreen vAtApi gaNapathim ensued, where the simple pentatonic scale of hamsadhwani was transformed into a rich experience of melody and rhythm.

She then explored the different shades of the soulful dharmAvati as she put it “like a journey” with each phrase revealing a new facet of the raga. The ‘wow!’ moment for many of us in the audience was when what seemed like an incessant stream of phrases rained down on our ears, gently teasing and tugging the notes but astoundingly played with only one initial strum of one string! She went on to play a tanam which progressively picked up in pace and pitch but never lost an ounce of her inherent bhAvam. A short and sweet krithi rendition was followed by a lively and intricate taniAvartanam by the immensely talented Vidwans Sri Arjun Kumar from Bangalore on Mridangam and Sri Trichy Krishnawamy on Ghatam. They exhibited the vast potential of their respective instruments by displaying rhythmic patterns that exploited the different sounds and tones native to those drums.

She concluded the concert with a composition of her maternal uncle the late violin virtuoso Sri Lalgudi G. Jayaraman – thillAna in ragam shivaranjani. The sustained tumultuous applause that followed was a testament to how her music had so easily elevated the audience into another dimension of bliss.

Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh has a true gift for touching our hearts with her melodies. Whenever, wherever she plays – be it in a grand sabha or a tiny temple tucked away in a corner of Chennai, her skill, simplicity and sincerity never fail to shine through, enriched by her immense vidwat, deep aesthetic sense and dedication to detail. She is a true inspiration! I count myself very lucky to have attended this concert of hers held in the City Recital Hall where I was blown away by her music once again, only this time heightened by a venue that has been constructed solely for the purpose of music and thus resonates with an unparalleled acoustic quality. Thanks to the Nataraj Cultural Centre for providing Sydney the opportunity to listen to this versatile vainika – it truly was food for the soul.

Kaivalyakumar’s Sydney Performance

By Sumathi Krishnan



The evening concluded with the Hindustani vocal recital of Kaivalyakumar one of India’s admired singers, who brings the noble tradition of Kirana – the most creative of all singing styles.The rhythmic texture of this music is highly intricate and ornamented with grace notes, producing amazing effects.

Pandit Kaivalyakumar was accompanied by Shubh Maharaj ( Tabla), Rohit Marathe (Harmonium) and Bharati Barhate (Tanpura). He commenced the concert with the evening Raga Maru Bihag and developed it through a Bada Khayal followed by a Druth. The slow development of the raga was apt and set the mood for the evening. He followed this piece with a Dadra in Mishra Pilu and concluded his recital with the traditional Sindhu Bhairavi with the composition of Jamuna Ke Teer an all time classic.

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