In conversation with Oscar-nominated Carnatic vocalist Bombay Jayashri
Yoshika Sangal | May 26, 2017 | New Delhi
Oscar-nominated Carnatic vocalist Bombay Jayashri is a phenomenal performer, teacher and composer. She grew up in a family which is into music from generations. She has performed at festivals and concerts in more than 35 countries. She was nominated for ‘Pi Lullaby’ in the film Life of Pi in the best original song category in the 2012 Oscars. Jayashri has worked with AR Rahman, Shubha Mudgal, Leela Samson, Mahesh Dattani, Mani Ratnam and Revathi, among others. She believes that music should be part of primary education and that it is everyone’s responsibility to promote music.
How were you associated with music?
I come from a family where everyone loved all genres, all the notes and the swaras.
Has the training in classical singing has changed over time?
It has changed like the changes happening in everything around us. For instance, generations before my teachers, training in music was done like the Vedas were taught. With technology, this has changed. There are recordings and technological aids which have changed learning considerably. Now, there are mics and air-conditioned halls. Technology has its ups and downs, but it has made us reach out to more people.
Your experience been working with different musicians?
My premise is that whoever I work with, whether a Carnatic, or Hindustani, or a western musician, their music comes from the same notes. Working with them, I see art from their eyes and I draw inspiration. It is wonderful to work through their language, sensitivity, discipline and variety. I feel enriched and I come back being a better Carnatic musician and a better human being.
Why are you called ‘Bombay’ Jayashri?
The tradition in Carnatic music is to put the name of the village or town where one grew up. I grew up in Bombay. A renowned critic decided that it should be part of my name. I retained it and I like it. I love Bombay. Everything I am is because of the city. In fact, so many people address me as Bombay!
Have you noticed any change in the audience of classical music?
Quite a bit; even from the time I started performing. One change is in the cutting down of the duration of performances. Music is easily accessible through YouTube and iTunes. It reaches the audience before I physically present it to them. No idea whether it is good or not. I agonise sometimes, that the audience is losing patience. They’re not ready to wait. Earlier, the time between two of my concerts was one year. The audience used to wait and wonder where I’ve gone, so that I can pick up from where I left. They encouraged me through this journey of learning and evolving for my betterment. Now, I feel this is largely absent.
Your advice to future musicians?
Art is a deep, wide, broad and enigmatic form; one can never understand where we’re going after years of practice. Least we need is patience. Being in hurry can make one miss the magic.
Is government doing enough to promote music?
We are all responsible to promote it. We need to get music into the education system. Every child has the right to have music in his/her life. It is important to have music as a subject in the primary years of education starting from kindergarten. That will become make a big difference. We’re so culturally rich. Art will sensitise us, will make us beautiful people and make our relationships lovely. I have a dream of such an India. Already the world looks up to us [India] for our art and spirituality. Why don’t we give it to our children?
Where do you see India ten years from now?
Beautiful. There is so much good everywhere in the world but when I come back, I am proud to be an Indian, except if we could be cleaner, greener, handle population and corruption.
(The interview appears in the May 16-31, 2017 issue of Governance Now)
Vishal Dadlani is a versatile musician who composes, sings as well as writes lyrics. He is the co-founder of electronica/indie-rock band Pentagram – the first Indian band to perform at the Glastonbury Music Festival in the UK in 2005. He formed a music producing duo with musician Shekhar Ra
"Acche Vajpayee ka kya karoge (what will you do with a good Vajpayee)?" Atal Bihari Vajpayee once responded to the Opposition`s barb that he was "a good man in the wrong party" in his inimitable style during the trust motion in 1996. The style of delivery was such that the house plunged
We are a nation of stories. Besides our major epics, stories have sprouted around our numerous gods, each constituting a mini-epic. As a people, we read the stories of our gods, we have them read and interpreted, we have them performed in more regional and linguistic variations than we can count. Some of t
NALCO has once again repeated its stupendous performance by registering profit after tax of Rs 687 crore in the first quarter of 2018-19 FY, posting a growth of 167 percent. As compared to the corresponding quarter of the last year, net profit growth has risen by a whopping 433 percent, from
Minister of state for shipping, road transport and highways and chemical and Fertilizers Mansukh L Mandaviya recently said the government is considering the proposal of acquiring shares of Dredging Corporation of India by Visakhapatnam Port Trust, Paradip Port Trust and New Mangalore Port Trust based on th
For production of Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited has received orders from Indian Air Force for 40 aircraft (20 initial operational clearance (IOC) standard and 20 final operational clearance (FOC) standard). Besides, 40 LCA Tejas, the defence acquisition co