Twin souls on the concert stage
With the passing away of R. Jayalakshmi, the leading performer of the dulcet voiced duo Radha-Jayalakshmi, the world of Carnatic music lost one of its finest exponents.
Born in an Iyengar family of music lovers, the cousins received their basic lessons in music in their childhood from Jayalakshmi’s mother R. Pattammal, an accomplished veena player and niece of veena vidwan Rangaswamy Iyengar. They were later trained by T.R. Balu, the principal disciple of G.N. Balasubramaniam, until his premature death in the early 1950s. GNB then guided them and laid the foundation for their successful music career of over four decades. He affectionately referred to them as his granddaughters.
The ‘Sisters’ successfully adopted GNB’s style of raga alapana, speedy rendering of songs, crisp niraval, sarvalaghu kalpana swaras, and clear cut pronunciation with due emphasis on the raga and sahitya bhava. GNB advised them to adopt the nagaswaram type of raga alapana and to reveal the identity of the raga in the beginning itself instead of keeping the audience perplexed. He insisted on their including a couple of rare ragas and apoorva kritis in their concerts and to put in effort by adequate planning, preparation and presentation to make each concert memorable for the listeners.
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