Let us get ready for the finest ‘Lalgudi Bani’

Children of the great legend coming to Auckland

Venkat Raman

If you are a Violin maestro, teacher, student or even a casual observer, you would certainly book seats at a forthcoming music concert in Auckland.

New Zealand Carnatic Music Society (NZCMS) is organising a Violin Duet by the Lalgudi siblings Krishnan and Jayalakshmi on Saturday, March 17, 2018 at 530 pm at Blockhouse Bay Community Centre, 524 Blockhouse Bay Road.

Arjun Kumar, one of the most respected artistes, will accompany them on the Mridangam.

NZCMS President Sreeranganath Koilkandadai said that tickets for the Concert, priced at $25 for Non-Members and $15 for Seniors and Children under 12 years of age.

“Entry is free for Members. The Society organises at least three major concerts every year with free entry for members and reasonable rates for Non-Members, Seniors and Children,” he said.

The Lalgudi Tradition

The Lalgudi ‘Bani’ (style) is unique in that it comes closest to the Gayaki Style of musical expression with the Sahitya and the emotions embedded in the composition.

Established and evolved by Lalgudi Jayaraman, the ‘Lalgudi Bani’ is a technique viewed as a means of projecting and expressing melody. The Bani aspires to make the Violin sing and this is the focal point of its evolution.

The Bani is a blend of melody and rhythm, each complimenting the other, where rhythm, however fascinating, bows down necessarily to melody.

Krishnan and Vijayalakshmi are leading exponents of the Lalgudi style, which is characterised by boundless innovation while strictly adhering to tradition and eloquently capturing the mood and essence of any composition.

Challenging Instrument

Violin is stated to be one of the most challenging instruments, mastering which is a gift, not bestowed on every performer.

India has produced several maestros who have captured world audiences, foremost among them being the late Lalgudi Jayaraman.

Lalgudi Krishnan

On his heels comes his son Lalgudi GJR Krishnan in whose hands the Violin is stated to gain special significance. As his website says, “In the sphere of Carnatic Music, his name is instantly associated with melody, rhythm, masterly technique on the Violin and overall excellence.”

Krishnan belongs to the Saint Thyagaraja lineage and was raised in an atmosphere redolent of sublime, divine music.

Krishnan has metamorphosed into an outstanding musician. He began his musical training when he was just five years of age under the watch of his illustrious grandfather Lalgudi Gopala Iyer and was honed to perfection by his father.

His innate talent, natural brilliance and musical ability combined with focused training and disciplined approach has elevated him to a much-sought after artiste. Over the years, he has carved an elevated niche for himself as a global performer.

Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi

Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi is also a worthy torch bearer of this great Parampara. She has, over the years, contributed to the continuation of these unique Bani and has accentuated its popularity.

The fifth-generation musician in the family, Vijayalakshmi grew up in an atmosphere of reverberating, rich music. Early signs of her musical inclinations were apparent, when she was only two years old when even then, she could identify the solfa syllables in any musical phrase.

Teenage debut

These early trends were nurtured further when she commenced her lessons at the age of six under the watchful eyes of her perfectionist father.

At the age of 13, she went on stage for the first time with her father.

Since then, she has performed regularly in violin duets and trios with her father and brother.

Over the years, she has grown into a mature artiste and a violinist in her own right.

Her musical excellence, melody, rhythm, style, technique and the diligence with which she has maintained stylistic grandeur is a cornerstone of her success

She has a unique distinction of being a vocalist, again groomed under the Lalgudi tradition, gaining international recognition.

Siblings excel

In recent years, she has accompanied several well-known vocalists and instrumentalists.

Krishnan and Vijayalakshmi have creditably internalised exquisite quality of performing on the Violin and are recognised by the lay and the cognoscenti as artistes of remarkable merit.

They maintain a judicial balance of aesthetics and grammar, not sacrificing one at the altar of the other.

Editor’s Note: Information obtained from the respective websites of Krishnan and Vijayalakshmi.

Arjun Kumar

Bangalore Arjun Kumar is a superb Mridangam artiste, having enthralled music lovers over the past four decades with his inimitable style, novelty, fine aesthetics and precision.

Born in a family of Mridangam artistes, Kumar was initiated into the art when he was just five years old by his father Arjunan, a very senior artiste.

Kumar was mentored by TAS Mani and later came under the tutelage of the Mridangam legend, Umayalpuram K Sivaraman.

New Zealand Carnatic Music Society

Auckland based New Zealand Carnatic Music Society is a registered body managed by Carnatic Music enthusiasts, with the primary objective of encouraging young aspirants to achieve qualifications and proficiency in the fine art of South Indian music.

Among the highlights of its activities are four monthly programmes dedicated to the Trinity of Carnatic Music Saint Thyagaraja, Shyama Sastry and Muthusamy Dikshitar; Purandara Dasa and other composers.

Citadel of Learning

NZCMS is what C Rajagopalachari (Rajaji), Independent India’s first and last Governor General used to refer as ‘A Citadel where the Traditional lamps keep burning giving light and life to every generation that comes into being.’

In that spirit, the Society is the cradle in which our young boys and girls learn Carnatic Music.

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