It was at this year’s Dover Lane Music Conference where Vidushi Bombay Jayashri’s (Ramnath) elegance was incomparable. She came, she performed for almost an hour and a half and left. She didn’t talk much. But it was her singing and improvisations that did most of the talking for her through the Carnatic music. If it was not for the management of the Dover lane Conference, she would have stayed and performed a little longer. It was apparent that the audience wanted more of her voice.
This performance was a little confounding, quite soothing and mostly enthralling. The soulful kritis and tillana that she performed were downright delightful and fascinating. She is an Academy Award nominee for best original song after all. For someone coming from India, it sounds invigorating. Mostly to the people pursuing the same route of music she leads.
Jayashri has sung for multiple movies, one of which the Life of Pi has led her to the nominee for best original score, but it’s mostly her classical performance that’s her hybrid offering. “The Carnatic vocals of Bombay Jayashri involved soulful kritis composed by Thyagaraja. The singer seemed down on her next renditions like Parvathi Nayakam but found her forte in tillana.” wrote Payel Sengupta for the review of the 2020 Dover lane conference.
Over the years, the Vidushi has released multiple classical albums. She has brought traditional Indian music to an international audience through partnerships with abundant world artists. Anubhavam is one of those classical renditions released in 1998 consisting of ragas like Hamsadhwani, Desh, Sudhha Dhanyasi, Yaman Kalyani, Bowli, Sindhu Bhairavi, Revati, Behag, Kalyanavasantham.
With Anubhavam, Bombay Jayashri set the foundation for one of the most consequential careers in Carnatic Classical Music. On her site, it cites,
“Bombay Jayashri Ramnath occupies a graceful middle ground between the traditions of the past and the protean realm of today, where styles advance at the blink of an eye and heritage runs the risk of being forgotten. Upon that ground she stands, she creates, and she sustains her age-old art form, bending and shaping it without ever losing its identity. Her legacy is a monumental thing, and upon it, she continues to build.”
And this statement is as true as anything that could possibly happen to our world. Listen.