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In a league on her own

Published : Feb 6, 2019, 2:29 am IST
Updated : Feb 6, 2019, 2:29 am IST

Oscar-nominated artist Bombay Jayashri will be in Delhi to perform at a cultural festival this month.

Bombay Jayashri Ramnath
 Bombay Jayashri Ramnath

Bombay Jayashri Ramnath is a rare Carnatic vocalist who has transcended the barriers of genres; she is equally at ease singing with a Western orchestra in Helsinki as she is with Sanskrit shlokas at a concert dedicated to Lord Buddha. Her Carnatic music concerts are always packed; she is unafraid to sing Ragas of the Hindustani idiom too, as she says, “music is the same”.  She is also a renowned playback singer for films and is a household name all over South India. Ambassador to Earthday Network, Bombay Jayashri is known, impressively, to have spontaneously composed a pallavi in Sanskrit on the destruction of trees after cyclone Varada hit Chennai in December 2016. She is equally passionate about other causes she holds dear, and these include promoting music therapy for children in the autism spectrum. For the past five years, her institution Hitham has been seriously engaged in this endeavour.

Often called the Nightingale of the South, the singer is coming to Delhi to sing at Arth – the cultural festival to be at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, on 8th February. Her concert is intriguingly entitled Love and the Divine. Talking about her views on music, she says, “the type of sadhana in music has changed; a singer of 24 today has been able to encapsulate aspects of a Raga that I was not able to do at 24; the availability or accessibility of music has increased so much. You can hear a live concert happening in Virginia; you can ask student friends what they are learning. Exchange of musical ideas have become so easy; all that gives you a wider vision.”  But the noted singer also believes that if one compares the quality of the music of then and now, there is a world of difference. “If I listen to a concert today of a contemporary, after a few minutes, I have to trouble myself to keep concentrating. On the other hand, when I listen to a master of yesteryear, I am moved and can’t keep away. So my generation has lost something, there’s degeneration and dilution in the arts. It’s even in the visual sense; a black and white movie of Guru Dutt still holds you spellbound. I was reading a book recently about a recluse who just goes away from the world, to be alone to find himself. That is something our forefathers understood the importance of. You need to isolate yourself to gain something”

Definitely, the magic of her music must be the result of deep introspection. The three-day event, from 8-10 Feb has a series of discussions by various experts in different fields, workshops on painting, wood carving, and paper cutting and of course concerts. There are special sessions for children, different cuisine from different regions of India – Arth looks to keep one totally engrossed throughout the day.

Tags: bombay jayashri, sanskrit shlokas