Geeta Venkatramanan’s insightful article on violin maestro Lalgudi Jayaraman (FR, April 26, Pg 1) prompts me to recall and share three incidents, culled from my music collection. They throw light on his communion with Nature, his humility and his endeavour to play the role of an accompanying artist with perfection.
That the notes from his strings could move even a bird was evident from a Pollachi temple concert, many years ago, where in the midst of an inspired neraval, the violinist was pleasantly surprised when the temple peacock tweeting harmoniously on a particular note; the violinist, performing solo, went back to the note to have the duet between man and bird replayed! The peacock readily responded!
When I had the privilege of drawing Lalgudi Jayaraman’s attention to this rare interlude when I met him at a concert later in Mumbai, his eyes twinkled with the recollection.
In a spirited swara prasthara for the Tyagaraja kriti, ‘Ra Ramainti’ in Asaveri, Madurai Mani Iyer paused appreciatively at one point and asked Lalgudi Jayaraman to go ahead on his breathtaking spree!
During a Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar concert, the fiery vocalist apparently chided an inhibited (and probably young) Lalgudi Jayaraman to cut loose and reveal his mettle to an audience which was eagerly looking forward to the display of his skills on the violin! Lalgudi Jayaraman was to the violin what Ustad Vilayat Khan was to the sitar. Both made their instruments sing to their tune!