Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Musical homage to Lalgudi in Houston

By Thara Narasimhan 

Lalgudi Samarpanam was organised by Houston Youth Music Association (HYMA)  at the Anjali Center of Performing Arts on 4 May to pay homage to the violin maestro and composer Lalgudi G. Jayaraman who passed away last summer in Chennai. The endeavour was supported by Krishna Gana Sudha Music Academy (KGSMA) and Samskriti.

The first offering was a performance by 40 students of Krishna Gana Sudha Academy trained by Rajarajeswary Bhat. This was followed by an ensemble of vocalists and violinists – direct disciples of Lalgudi Jayaraman – which presented marvelous music. Eminent artists like Vittal Ramamurthy (violin), Rajarajeshwary Bhat (vocal), Poovalur Sriji (mridangam), and Rathna Papa Kumar (Bharatanatyam) participated in the musical homage. They presented Lalgudi’s varnams, kritis and tillanas in quick succession.
Jayaraman’s compositions are a rage with Bharatanatyam exponents. Years ago, Rathna Kumar’s guru K.J. Sarasa, after listening to Lalgudi’s pada varnam, wanted to present it in dance in the presence of the composer. She choreographed and taught it to her young disciple Rathna Papa who performed it in the presence of Lalgudi Jayaraman. Rathna Kumar recalled this and presented the varnam with musical rendition by Kruthi Bhat. The dance was interspersed with video excerpts of Lalgudi Jayaraman explaining the meaning and beauty of the composition. The navaragamalika varnam Angayarkanni on the nine forms of Devi, is Lalgudi’s magnum opus, rich in meaning and melody.

Senior disciple Vittal Ramamurthy read a message sent by Lalgudi G.J.R. Krishnan and Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi. He then shared his own experiences with his guru “Lalgudi Sir” from the time he started learning from him. He fondly recalled his guru’s sterling qualities – his wit, intelligence, helping nature, and simplicity.

Gowri Ramnarayan visiting from India, spoke about some remarkable features in Lalgudi’s compositions. Amrita Murali, also from India, joined the violin group as a guest artist. The emcee Uma Ranganathan presented the programme exceedingly well.

The group singing by B.N. Chinmayee, Thanmayee Krishnamurthy, Keerthana Bhat, Kruthi Bhat and Rajarajeshwary Bhat was enjoyable. The violinists Sujatha Kidambi, Subha Comandur, Vikram Murali, Neha Krishnamachary, Sharada Krishnan, Pavani Anupindi and Vittal Ramamurthy captivated the audience with their musical tribute. Lalgudi Jayaraman touched many lives with his music, wisdom, care and compassion. He lives on through his music and compositions.

The music and dance homage paid to Lalgudi Jayaraman by the Greater Houston community was a befitting tribute by musicians, dancers, connoisseurs and lovers of Lalgudi in Houston, and other parts of the U.S.A.

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