COVER STORY - Lalgudi G. Jayaraman by T.T. NARENDRAN
The world of Carnatic music has plunged into grief over the loss of Lalgudi G. Jayaraman, an outstanding musician. Rasikas of the 1940s and 50s are likely to have seen a young violin accompanist, attired in the traditional tuft and kadukkans or ear-studs, responding to the briga speed of GNB and to the complex kanakku calculations of the Alathur brothers with alacrity. With his ability to match the wares of every musician he accompanied, he must have given a new definition to the role of violin accompaniment. He was acknowledged in the music world as one endowed with karpoora buddhi – intellectual reflexes akin to the instant combustibility of camphor.
The way he wielded the bow often made him sound close to the human voice. I recall a morning concert of Madurai Srirangam Iyengar at the Music Academy, in which, for a folk song at the end of the concert, he filled a gap, sounding identical to the human voice, by cleverly shifting to the lower octave. The impact was tremendous and drew spontaneous appreciation from the audience.
There was one occasion when a scholarly musician opened an alapana ostensibly in Suddha Bangala. In a soft tone, Lalgudi played the logical follow-up phrase rggrs in a manner that would fit only that raga and none of its allies. Ironically, the vocalist went into Nayaki thereafter, but Jayaraman, in that narrow interval, showed his class to the discerning members of the audience.
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