Sri Lalgudi Jayaraman is a popular Indian violinist, who is known throughout the world for his heartrending performances in Carnatic music. His mesmerizing techniques and complete control over the instrument has made him one of the maestros in his chosen field.
Melodious, rhythmic and stylish are some of the words used to define the music of Lalgudi Jayaraman. He holds the distinction of being the first musician to be awarded with the Chowdaiah Memorial National-Level Award. For his outstanding work in his field, Lalgudi Jayaraman has been bestowed upon with Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri, India’s third and fourth highest civilian awards. In the following lines, we have provided detailed information about the childhood and life of Lalgudi Jayaraman.
Lalgudi Jayaraman was born on September 17, 1930, in Chennai. His father, late V R Gopala Iyer was a famous disciple of Thyagaraja. Lalgudi Jayaraman inherited interest and talent in music from his father. He also received his training from his father.
Lalgudi started his musical career as an accompanying violinist at the tender age of twelve. He accompanied several musicians such as Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar, Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar, Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, G. N. Balasubramaniam, Madurai Mani Iyer, K. V. Narayanaswamy, Maharajapuram Santhanam, T. V. Sankaranarayanan, and T. N. Seshagopalanin in their concerts and with time, developed his own individual style. Since he had a good grasping power and had a surging desire to excel in the field and give his music original expression, he soon emerged as an exceptional violinist.
Lalgudi Jayaraman invented a new technique of playing the violin, which came to be known as ‘Lalgudi Bani’. This innovative style was stylized in a manner that it best suited the needs of Indian classical music. Though it was original and unique, it, however, wasn’t too apart from the traditional style and thus was liked and appreciated by one and all. His compositions of several ‘kritis’, ’tillanas’ and ‘varnams’ boast of a unique blend of raga, bhava, rhythm and lyrical beauty. ‘Krithis’ are the main part of the modern concert collection. They usually consists a pallavi, anupallavi and piece of charanam. A ‘thillana’ comprises of rhythmic syllables and the ‘Varnam’ is the base of Carnatic music. Along with this, he has also created a wide range of ragas. Lalgudi is also credited for bringing the most sought-after vocal style into violin, with each of his performance exhibiting knowledge of the lyrical content of the compositions. Lalgudi Jayaraman was the first violinist, who brought international focus on the Carnatic style of playing violin. Also, he has been credited with the introduction of the new concept of musical ensemble with violin, venu (flute) and veena in 1966.
Lalgudi Jayaraman has made compositions in four languages namely Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Sanskrit. His compositions are very expressive and have gained huge popularity with Bharatnatyam dancers. Lalgudi has taken part in concerts, not only on the Indian ground but also in many foreign countries. He has been to Russia as a member of the Indian Cultural Delegation and in 1965 he played at the Edinburgh Music Festival. He has also performed in Singapore, Malaysia, Manila and a number of East European countries. Lalgudi also represented India at the ‘Festival of India’ in U. S., London, Germany and Italy.
He has even performed in solo and ‘Jugalbandi’ concerts which became very popular. Sri Lalgudi Jayaraman went on a tour to Oman, UAE, Qatar and Bahrain in the year 1984 and was highly successful. He also composed the lyrics and music for the operatic ballet ‘Jaya Jaya Devi’ which was showed in 1994 at Cleveland in United States. In 1999, Sri Lalgudi Jayaraman performed in UK under the support of Shruthi Laya Sangham (Institute of Fine Arts).
Lalgudi Jayaraman is married and has been blessed with two children, son G.J.R.Krishnan and daughter Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi. Both his son and daughter are famous in their own rights and have followed the footsteps of their grandfather and father earnestly.
Awards & Titles
- Sri Lalgudi Jayaraman has been honored with the title ‘Nada VidyaTilaka’ by Music Lover’s Association of Lalgudi (1963).
- He also received ‘Padma Shri’ (1972),
- ‘Nada Vidya Rathnakara’ by East West Exchange (New York),
- ‘Vadya Sangeetha Kalaratna’ by Bharathi Society (New York),
- ‘Sangeetha Choodamani’ by Federation of Music Sabhas, Madras (1971 & 1972),
- ‘Sangeetha Natak Academy Award’ (1979),
- ‘Chowdaiah Memorial National-Level Award’,
- ‘Padma Bhushan’ (2001) and the ‘National Film Award’ for Best Music Direction of the film ‘Sringaram’ (2006).
- He was also given the title of ‘State Vidwan’ of Tamil Nadu (1979) and honorary citizenship of Maryland, USA (1994).