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Legendary Saraswathi Veena artiste honoured

Published Oct 15, 2018, 12:02 am IST
Updated Oct 15, 2018, 12:02 am IST
With a rich lineage of music spanning six generations, Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh has dedicated her life to the Saraswathi Veena.
Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh
 Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh

India’s torch bearer worldwide and Saraswathi Veena artiste, collaborator, composer, researcher, creator, pioneer, and educator Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh was honoured with the 9th Indira Sivasailam Endowment Medal. The artiste is unique in narrating stories with the strings of her Veena, connecting with the audience that transcends the boundaries of region and language. With a rich lineage of music spanning six generations, Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh has dedicated her life to the Saraswathi Veena.

Indira Sivasailam Endowment Medal aims to recognise outstanding contributions made in the field of Carnatic music and helping preserve and propagate the art form. The recipient of the award is selected on the basis of specific criteria as defined by the eminent jury of The Music Academy, Madras and industrialist Mallika Srinivasan, chairman TAFE and daughter of Indira Sivasailam.


“I express my gratitude to the Indira Sivasailam Foundation and The Music Academy for recognising and felicitating me with this award. Such form of recognition inspires me to make me even more determined efforts in my pursuit of excellence in Carnatic music,” the artiste shared with the audience on receiving the prestigious award.

She had already bagged a bunch of local, state level and national awards including ‘Sangeetha Choodamani’, ‘Kalaimamani’ by the Government of Tamil Nadu, ‘Vishwa Kala Ratna’, ‘Veena Naada Mani’, ‘Kala Ratna’, ‘Sathyashree’ and ‘Gaana Varidhi’, besides being an eight-time recipient of The Music Academy, Chennai’s ‘Award for Veena’.

Belonging to the Lalgudi family, the artiste began playing Veena at the age of 3, under mother Lalgudi R. Rajalakshmi. Afterwards, she came under the tutelage of her guru Vidushi Padmavathy Ananthagopalan who groomed her meticulously. She was blessed to have the opportunity to also seek guidance under Veena Virtuoso Padmabhushan Dr. S. Balachander. She was one of the youngest Veena artistes to receive highest ‘A-TOP’ grading from AIR.

As a pioneer in her field, Jayanthi has presented Veena to audiences in every corner of the world for over 30 years. Following the gurukula system, she learnt from her guru the intricate science and art of playing the Veena for 22 years. She equipped herself academically too, by acquiring her PhD in analytical study of different ‘Banis’ and playing techniques of Saraswathi Veena.

She has shared the heritage of Indian classical music within and outside India, united musicians of our nation under one umbrella, and inculcated an interest in this instrument among the present generation of youngsters.

Her concerts have been featured in famous venues like Royal Albert Hall, London, Theatre de la Ville, Paris, and NCPA, Mumbai. Festival of India in Paris, Queensland Music Festival, Darwin Music Festival, Sydney Music Festival, Northwest Folklife Festival, San Francisco Jazz Festival, BBC Proms in London, Celtic Connections in Scotland, Bengal Classical Music Festival Bangladesh are some of the concerts she participated in.

She has made a number of contributions in the creative world, performing a series of 45 raga concerts, wherein she played 45 Ragas non-stop for 124 minutes, one after the other,

with a single meaningful bridge linking one raga to the next, her inspiration drawn from Dr. S. Balachander.

Yet another new concept she pioneered was ‘Story in Concert’ which integrates Geetham-Vadhyam-Chitram-Katha. She presents the story woven into the structure of the concert while the painter creates scenes from the story as the concert progresses. This concept has been received extremely well by rasikas as well as young audiences. Composition and creation of music for many musicals, dance productions and documentaries came in her musical trail.

 As part of her research in music therapy, she made albums to help in ailments like high blood pressure and arthritis.