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Friday, November 4, 2022

The Lalgudi Express - Celebrating the Maestro's Bani

Vid. Lalgudi Jayaraman - Sri Ramanavami 1987 Concert

By R. Sachi

The idyllic city of Mysore boasts of a heritage railway station through which many of who’s who have passed to experience the wonderful city over long years.

Among the many musicians who arrived by train in Mysore to perform at the home of Parvathi, the legend Vid. Lalgudi Jayaraman was a special one, who came countless times.

The Railway Museum, Mysore

In this 1987 Sri Ramanavami concert with accompaniment by his son Vid. GJR Krishnan, Vid. Vellore Ramabhadran, and Vid. Bangalore Venkatram, Sri. Lalgudi gives us a ride on the Lalgudi Express train. There is a brisk tempo throughout, with never a dull moment. Vid. Ramabhadran’s sarvalaghu style of playing the mridangam is like the steady beat of the train wheels on a well-laid broad gauge track! This concert augurs for the Vande Bharat Express being launched to garner many accolades.

Sri K. Srikantiah is quite fond of recollecting his long association with Vid. Lalgudi since circa 1948. Both were very young then and a thick friendship grew. The family of Parvathi celebrated every achievement and award bestowed on the great vidwan including the first Chowdiah National Award in 1982 and an International Award for the best of world music. Readers can discover the family connection with the Chowdah Hall too in this blog. We have also shared many brilliant concerts of Vid. Lalgudi Jayaraman – both solo and playing as an accompanist, already.

It is now a happy occasion in our Finale to share this concert recording from 1987, especially since Vid. GJR Krishnan has been named as the awardee of the Sangeeta Kalanidhi title for 2022 by the Madras Music Academy which will be conferred on him along with his sister Vid. Vijayalakshmi.

The Lalgudi musical lineage traces back to Saint Thyagaraja himself, as has been well narrated in the biography of the Vidwan titled “An Incurable Romantic.” Being a truly multidimensional musician and composer, Vid. Lalgudi Jayaraman won worldwide acclaim for his many accomplishments as a soloist, accompanist, composer, teacher, and the creator of the Lalgudi Bani.

This concert begins with his own composition, a Varnam in Sama. The next song in Dhanyasi is short and sweet with these words:

The Spiritual Heritage of Tyagaraja, RK Math, Chennai 

Thyagaraja is summarising the entire personality of Sri Rama: Rama the beautiful one, the powerful one, the giver of delight, the punisher of the evil, and the indweller in the heart of the devotee. The same sentiment is expressed also in the Huseni song so evocatively played by the maestro after a dynamic Shanmukhapriya.

The rendition of Sakalagrahabala Neene in Athana is excellent.

Concert Details

Lalgudi Jayaraman   --------- Violin
GJR Krishnan                 ---- Violin
Vellore Ramabhadran ------- Mridangam
Bangalore Venkatram ------ Ghatam
on 11-4-1987at 'Parvathi' Sri Ramanavami Festival.

Song List

  • 1.       Tarunam en Thaye – Sama Varnam – Lalgudi Jayaraman
  • 2.       Shyama Sundaranga – Dhanyasi – Thyagaraja
  • 3.       Paramatmudu – Vagadheeshwari – Thyagaraja
  • 4.       Sakalagrahabala Neene – Athana – Purandaradasa
  • 5.       Ramachandram Bhavayami – Vasantha – Muthuswami Dikshitar
  • 6.       Marivere Dikkevaraiyya Rama – Shanmukhapriya – Patnam Subrahmanya Iyer
  • 7.       Raghuveera Ranadheera – Huseni – Thyagaraja
  • 8.       Bhavanuta – Mohana – Thyagaraja
  • 9.       Kharaharapriya alapana

This is only Part A of the concert recording. Unfortunately, we are unable to locate in the heap of tapes the second part of the recording. So, as the maestro builds up the alapana of Kharaharapriya, the recording ends. It is as if Mahaveera Hanuman has brought an invitation to the ensemble to move and to continue the concert in front of  Lord Sri Rama himself in his Ayodhya Durbar.


We extend our felicitations to Vid. GJR Krishnan and Vid. Vijayalakshmi on the Sangeetha Kalanidhi award. We earnestly wish continued glory to the Lalgudi Bani in the future.