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The Divine Music of Bombay Jayashri

I’ve mentioned how much I love Carnatic Music and how fortunate I’ve been to hear some of the great musicians of the 20th century. Recently I’ve been listening to the beautiful voice of Bombay Jayashri, a disciple of the legendary Lalgudi Jayaraman. I heard her live performance in California years ago and marveled at her intonations and her choice of some unusual ragas.

Now many years later, when I hear her songs I feel something more, a sense of Bakthi, that lifts me to a higher plane. Singing with her eyes closed, I get the impression she’s immersed in her music beyond this world, especially when singing the Ragam Revathy.

I’ve heard her sing two of Sri Purandara Dasa's kritis in this ragam and even though I don’t understand Kannada, her diction is so superb and her Bhakti so strong that I’m moved by the music. She also sings a lovely Tamil song by Smt. Ambujam Krishna called Pozshudu miga aachude that brings Krishna and the Gopis before your eyes. The composer did such an excellent job using simple words in this beautiful ragam and Jayshree brings out all the charm of the composition through her singing.

Here’s a performance of this song with an introduction where she discusses what Carnatic music is to her (unfortunately there are no subtitles). She makes the point that though some people see Carnatic music as heavy and difficult, she has women come up to her and tell her that their babies can’t go to sleep without Jayashri singing in the background. The children are comforted by the songs’ connection to the divine and unencumbered by judgments about what the music is supposed to be.

I hope you can enjoy it in the same manner.


Photo from wikipedia.org