SALEM Dr.S.JAYALAKSHMI - VOCALIST
A prominent vocalist, Dr.Jayalakshmi had her training with Maharajapuram Viswanatha Ayyar, T.Chowdiah and others. She has taken special interest in promoting tamil songs, Thevaram, Tiruppugazh and Prabandams and is running the Cultural Centre of Performing Arts, Adyar, Chennai. She has been successfully conducting Tamil Religious Song festivals for over a decade..
Has a pleasing voice and is a popular artiste. She is a musicologist and is connected with the Annamalai, Bharatidasan, Kamaraj (Madurai) universities, etc. She has brought a number of publications, research papers, translations, etc. Dr. Jayalakshmi launched the International Music Trust to teach 'music through correspondence' - an endeavour worthy of research! She has been awarded the following titles :
Doctorate in philosophy of music from the World University, Tucson, Arizona, USA
Kalaimamani from the Govt. of Tamilnadu
Isai Perarasi from Tamil Academy, Kanchipuram
Nadakanal from Nadakanal
Asthana vidwan of Mantralaya Math.
D.K.JAYARAMAN - VOCALIST.............(b. 1928)
The lad of eleven with captivating voice and expression was chosen to play the role of Prahalada. Ariyakudi Ramanuja Ayyangar was Vishnu. N.S.Ramachandran was the producer. Renowned Palghat Mani, Mysore Chowdiah, Parupalli Ramakrishna Pantulu were among the cast. The musically talented lad was not only a brilliant success but had the presence of mind and the alertness to take over singing the piece 'Sri Maha Ganapathi' (Sourashtra) when by inadvertance Parupalli had begun the song at the pitch of the lad. It should be noted that it was a live broadcast on the AIR long back. There was all-round praise to the lad, who was none other than D.K.Jayaraman, one of the top artistes.
D.K.Jayaraman is the son of Krishnaswmay Dikshitar and Rajammal and was born at Kanchipuram, near Chennai. He was enveloped by the musical environment provided by the renowned D.K.Pattammal, his sister. Her popularity with musicians drew many a prominent Vidwan and Jayaraman had thus a profitable exposure to music. He was precocious and had good grasping power. At five he was able to render 'Balagopala' (Bairavi) like his sister and at seven he would render 'Thiruvadi Charanam' (kamboji) like Musiri Subramania Ayyar. In fact some used to call him 'Hello Thiruvadicharanam!'.
He had the privilege to learn music from many stalwarts like D.K.Pattammal, Rajarathinam Pillai, Mazhavarayanendal Subbarama Bhagavathar, Jayamma - daughter of Veenai Dhanammal, Muthiah Bhagavathar, Madurai Brothers, Ariyakudi Ramanuja Ayyangar, Musiri Subramania Ayyar and Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar. 'Laya' he imbibed from Needamangalam Minakshisundaram Pillai and Tanjore Ramadas Rao. Tamil songs, he learnt from Kotiswara Ayyar and Papanasam Sivan. No trainee could expect for more and naturally he became a repository of a rich repertoire of songs and styles. He has trained several students.
Honours and titles :
Sangitha Jyoti by Sivananda Saraswathi
Nadha Brahmam by Papanasam Sivan
Yogam Nagaswamy Prize from the Music Academy 1974 & 1981.
Gana Kalanidhi from Sri Thyagaraja Sangitha Sabha, Coimbatore in 1978
Dikshitar Krithi Award from Music Academy in 1979
Sangitha Choodamani from Krishna Gana Sabha in 1980
Kala Visharad from Dombiville Fine Arts, Bombay in 1982
Gayaka Choodamani from Thulaseevana Sangita Sabha, Trivandrum in 1983
Kalaimamani from Tamil Nadu Eyal Isai Nataka Mandram in 1983.
LALGUDI G.JAYARAMAN (VIOLIN)
Born on 17.9.1930, of Gopala Iyer and Savithri Ammal at Lalgudi, he has the unique distinction of being in the direct lineage of Rama Iyer, a direct disciple of Thyagarajar. He received his initial training from his father and his paternal uncle Kandaswami Bhagavathar. He got a diploma in vocal and graduated in violin under his father. His debut performance was at the Perambur Sangeetha Sabha, Chennai in 1947 and the next year he performed at the Music Academy, Chennai. Till 1986, he accompanied several prominent artistes such as G.N.Balasubramaniam, Mazhavarayanendal Subbarama Bhagavathar. He had evolved his own unique style and started giving solo performances, initially with his sister Brahmanandam, later with his son G.J.R.Krishnan and daughter J.Vijayalakshmi. he has presented various Jugalbandis with Ustad Vilayat Khan, Pandit Chaurasia, Amjad Ali Khan. A talented composer, his varnams, tillanas and pada varnams became instantly popular among musicians and dancers. He has received various titles & honours, a few of which are - "Nadha Vidya Thilaka" in 1963 from Lalgudi Music Lovers' Association; "Nadha Vidya Ratnakara" in 1971 from East West Exchange Inc. New York; "Vadhya Sangeeta Kala Ratna" in 1971 from Bharati Society, New York; "Sangeetha Choodamani" in 1971 from Federation of Music Sabhas, Chennai; "Padma Sri" in 1972 from the President of India; "Sangeeth Natak Akademy Award" in 1978; "State Vidwan, Tamilnadu" in 1979 from Govt. of Tamilnadu; "Kalaimamani" in 1979 from Tamil Nadu Iyal Isai Nataka Mandram; "Asthana Vidwan" in 1979 from Tirumalai Tirupathi Devasthanams; "Nadha Vendhan" in 1979 from Sangeethalaya, Kuala Lumpur; "Bharatha Sangeetha Ratna" in 1980 from Sri Parthasarathi Gana Sabha, Bangalore; "NAtional-level award" in 1982 from Chowdiah Memorial; "Saptagiri Sangita Vidwan Mani" in 1988 from Tyagaraja Trust, Tirupati; :Sangita Kalasagara" in 1991 from Visakha Music Academy.
JOHN HIGGINS - CULTURAL AMBASSADOR & VOCALIST.............(August 18,1939 - December 8,1984)
It was a Greek tragedy. The young man from the West came to the land of Purandara Dasa, Jayadeva and the Carnatic Musical Trinity and quite soon not only absorbed and assimilated the nuances, intricacies and finesse of carnatic music but became one of its performing artistes and qualified exponents. he made a deep impact with his sincerity, dedication, understanding and involvement and was shaped to be the cultural ambassador for which role, he was eminently qualified, suited and moulded. This cultural link between the West and the East was lost, being a victim of a hit and run driver at the prime of his life. He was born at Andover, Massachusetts, New England. He did his B.A (music & History 0, M.A (Music) & Ph.D (Ethnomusicology) from the Wesleyan University.
While young, he was well encouraged by his father who taught english and his mother who taught him piano and who accompanied him in his musical pursuits. Under Fulbright scholarship, Higgins studied Carnatic music at Chennai during 1964-67 and made his debut quite fittingly at the Tyagaraja Festival, Tiruvaiyaru in 1965. His marriage in October 1967 with Rhea in the States was highlighted by a concert in Carnatic music. During 1981-82, he came to India for the third time as Senior Research Fellow of the American Institute of Indian studies. He was Professor of Music and Associate Dean of FIne Art of York University, Toronto during 1971-78, when he became Director of the Centre for the Arts and Professor of Music, Wesleyan University.
He kept close contacts with the musicians in India and took interest in popularising Carnatic music in the States. Sangita Kalanidhis K.V.Narayanaswamy and T.Viswanathan have given glowing tributes to the attributes, musical acumen and attainments of Jon Higgins.