Whoever says that Carnatic music is on the wane? Such sceptics would do well to attend a flute concert of J.A. Jayanth, whose astonishing capacity belies his age. At 17, he is more than a full-fledged vidwan. Nothing extraordinary because he is the grandson and disciple of the well-known flautist and disciple of Mali, T.S. Sankaran. He started learning to play the flute when he was four.
The Kapi that he played that day still rings in my ears. Long ago, Tiger Varadachariar, after singing Tyagaraja’s ‘Anyayamu Seyakura,’ in the Music Academy’s expert session remarked that ‘this is the original Kapi and any other Kapi would be decoction-less!’ Jayanth’s Kapi had the distinct flavour of the raga. The kriti he chose was ‘Intha Soukhyamanine’ of the saint. The kalpanaswaras were sweet and melodic.
Arunachala Karthik’s response on the violin, both for the alapana and swaras was equally absorbing. Ammangudi Ramanarayanan presented a neat thani on the mridangam, with a few flashes here and there. Another Raga that Jayanth chose for elucidation was Malayamarutham that evokes pensive, meditative mood. The evergreen ‘Manasa Yatulo’ of Tyagaraja was the chosen piece. In this kriti too, the swaraprastaras were extraordinarily brilliant.
His ‘Bagaayanayya’, a musical blend of lakshana and lakshya was the definition for Chandrajyothi. The swaraprastaras added to the serene charm of the raga. He opened the concert with Vallalar’s song, ‘Kalai Nirai Ganapathy,’ a rarely heard piece. He brought out all hues of this pleasant raga. ‘Sarasasamadhana’ (Kapinarayani) and Raghuvamsasudha (Kadhanakuthuhalam) suited the instrument well. In the latter, he switched to the fast tempo in the charanam, without losing its musical essence. Paramacharya’s ‘Maithrim Bhajatha’ provided the appropriate finale to his performance. Jayanth has excellent grip over rhythm. It is unfortunate that he didn’t play any kriti in Misra Chapu or Khanda Chapu. Excepting ‘Manasa Yatulo’ in Rupakam, all the other pieces were in Adi Tala. This omission perhaps was due to the time constraint. In an eighty-minute concert, how much could he pack?