Bombay Jayashri: Singing her way to success

For the Chennai music season 2019, The Hindu brings to you a series of articles from our archives on musical trendsetters. Today, an article on Bombay Jayashri.

Bombay Jayashri speaks as smoothly as she sings, sometimes even unemotional and matter of fact.

"During the first six years when I learnt music, I was at Bombay and that has stuck to my name. My grandfather was Palghat Narayana Iyer, who was taking music tuition at that metropolis. Both my father and mother can sing carnatic music of a fairly high order. Infact, My father used to give concerts. He died when I was just 6 years."

So your music lessons in the early years were from your mother.

Yes. In 6 six years I learnt about 80 to 100 kirtanas. We were also in Calcutta for about 10 years. In Bombay I completed my B.Com course too. The Morning College in Bombay helped me get degree as well as carry on with my music training.

After your mother who took over the task of teaching music to you?

T.R. Balamani, who was conducting classes for a group of students. I was under his guidance from my 12th year onwards.

Being in Bombay and learning music you must have attended concerts arranged in the Shanmugananda sabha.

I attended performances by Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, Lalgudi Jaya Raman, D.K Jaya Raman, Voletti Venkateswarulu and Nedumuri Krishnamurthy.

When you learnt music, were you activated by any desire to become a great musician?

I did not intend taking music as a profession. In 1982, I came to madras to attend the december music session. After that visit, gradually I thought of taking up music honestly. This interest was given a fillip then in 1987. I bagged about four or five prizes in row in the music competitions held that year by the music academy.

Were your intentions backed by any indications of patronage to you from any quarter?

In 1988, Nadopasana gave me a chance followed by an offer from the Music Academy in 1989. In 1988 itselfs the Indian Fine Arts Society included me in the afternoon bracket in its December festival. Thus, I had been having performances to sustain my desire to take up music as a profession.

When did you shift from Bombay to Madras?

My maternal grandfather is very close to Lalgudi Jayaraman. He said he would ask Lalgudi Jayaraman to groom me. Even then I was not quite certain whether music was really my career. It was in the following one or two years when I got some cutcheris, that my hopes were kind led. It was in 1989, that we permanently settled in Madras and my tution with Lalgudi Jayaraman began. He took classes in the evening and taught me the way to develop raga alapanas. I would repeat raga phrases as sung by him. At the same time he would polish the old songs I had already learnt. It was from the day I joined Lalgudi Jayaraman that my musical foundation and progressive development gained strength and firmness.

By then you must have gained sufficient confidence in making your recipals a great success.

Fairly, during 1990 and 1991 I concentrated whole heartedly on consolidating and expanding my musical knowledge, thanks to the guidance of Lalgudi Jayaraman. Since 1992, I have been having regular performances in Madras and elsewhere which has given me gather cutcheri experience.

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Printable version | Oct 17, 2021 3:45:22 AM |

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