Two separate events in Boston, U.S., paid tribute to the genius of Lalgudi Jayaraman.

“It is no exaggeration to state that every day of the year, somewhere around the globe, some dancer is performing Bharatanatyam to one of the compositions of the violin maestro Lalgudi Jayaraman. Such is the range and allure of the creations of this legend, who made a lasting contribution to the field of performing arts,” said Sujatha Vijayaraghavan during the launch of An Incurable Romantic, his biography by Lakshmi Devnath, in Boston, U.S. The event was organised in September, by MITHAS (Massachusetts Institute of Technology Heritage of the Arts of South Asia, MIT, Cambridge, MA), one of the oldest organisations in the Boston area.

Sujatha highlighted some important and interesting aspects of the book and the life of Lalgudi Jayaraman. She explained how the title of the book fit him very aptly.

The launch was followed by a violin duet by Lalgudi G.J.R. Krishnan and Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi.

The siblings presented their concert with brief introductions to the compositions, explaining the significance of the items to their father and his legacy.

In October, the Boston Chinmaya Mission honoured the maestro's memories and his contributions to dance by presenting a Bharatanatyam programme titled ‘Lalgudi Narthanam’ by Sunanda Narayanan and four students from her dance school, Thillai Fine Arts.

Refreshing steps

The programme, in the Margam format, included Lalgudi’s compositions as well as songs he had set to music.

A highlight was the number, ‘Theeratha Vilayattu Pillai,’ which was performed to a recording of Lalgudi’s rendition on the violin.

It illustrated how he was able to depict the dramatic import of the scenes and emotions by his sheer virtuosity even when the lyrics and music were not his own.

Sujatha compered the show, and by sharing some refreshing insights about Lalgudi’s compositions their context and the nuances of lyrics and music, she made her talk interesting.

It was poignant that the programme, planned a year ago by the Director of the Cultural Activities at the Chinmaya Mission as a celebration of the maestro’s art, eventually turned out to be a homage to him.