Music

Jayanthi Kumaresh: The chosen one

Another feather in the cap: Jayanthi Kumaresh

Another feather in the cap: Jayanthi Kumaresh  

Veena exponent Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh on receiving the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan’s “Sangeet Shikhar Samman”

Jayanthi Kumaresh started learning the art of playing Saraswati veena at a tender age of three. Her musical journey spans over three-and-half decades. She is not only an artiste of repute but also a collaborator, composer, researcher, creator, pioneer, and educator. Jayanthi is a recipient of many awards including the “Sangeetha Choodamani”, “Kalaimamani”, “Vishwa Kala Ratna”, “Veena Naada Mani”, “Kala Ratna”, “Sathyashree”, and “Gaana Varidhi”. The recent Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan’s prestigious “Sangeet Shikar Samman” is yet another feather in her cap. “I only felt that I was receiving this award on behalf of the Saraswati veena and felt privileged to be the person receiving it on her behalf,” says an elated Jayanthi. Jayanthi who has dedicated her life to the art form was in the Capital last week.

Jayanthi comes from the illustrious “Lalgudi” family with a rich lineage of music spanning six generations. Her early music education was under her mother Lalgudi R. Rajalakshmi and then she continued her training under Padmavathy Ananthagopalan in the Gurukula system for 22 years.

Besides, she got the opportunity to be guided by the veena maestro Dr. S. Balachander. Jayanthi owes her success in the field to her parents, gurus Padmavathy Ananthagopalan and Dr. S. Balachander, her mentor the legendary violin maestro Lalgudi G. Jayaraman, family members, and the audience.

Was it not difficult for her to amalgamate the violin influence of her mentor and guru’s veena styles? Jayanthi clarifies that style is only a mode of expression and that she focusses entirely on what to express, the contents, rather than how to express them. A grateful Jayanthi adds that she got an invaluable treasure from her gurus and mentor and that she has used the ecosystem in which she grew up to express them in her own style.

Mother’s decision

One is always curious to know why Jayanthi chose the instrument of veena and not violin? Jayanthi explains that it was the choice of her mother who had initiated her into veena when she was three years old and she does not think that she would have had the capacity to make a choice at that age. “We cannot choose music; music has to choose us. I feel I have been destined to spread the message of music through the Saraswati veena to the world,” avers Jayanthi.

Academically inclined, Jayanthi has a doctorate degree. She has researched on different banis and playing techniques of Saraswati Veena. Coming from a family of renowned musicians, was there a constant pressure on Jayanthi to perform well and if so, how did she manage the pressure? Jayanthi admits that there is a certain amount of expectation when someone comes from a renowned family of musicians. She further adds that she never felt the pressure but felt blessed to be born in such a musically-oriented family.

Recollecting her experiences of performing under the aegis of various organisations at different venues in the Capital, Jayanthi says that the cosmopolitan audience there are open to the music from the south, receptive and appreciative.

Her advice to young students of music is that they should not be in a hurry to present; rather they should take their time to learn, enjoy learning, assimilate, allow it to soak in and mature before they start presenting. If they are in a hurry to present, they will soon run out of stock.

“Becoming a musician is a long journey. Enjoy the journey. The destination is beautiful, but the journey is even more beautiful,” signs off Jayanthi.

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Printable version | Jun 29, 2020 1:07:13 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/jayanthi-kumaresh-the-chosen-one/article29971498.ece

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