Upholding the aesthetic nuances of Indian classical music, Dr Jyotsna Srikanth's concerts are a treat for all. This violinist, who was in the city recently, performed Indian classical, Indian jazz and world fusion music at Chowdaiah Memorial Hall.
Jyotsna started her formal education in music at the age of 4 under the tutelage of her mother Rathna Srikantaiah. Speaking about the rigorous training she underwent during her childhood days, she said, "During Ramanavami music festivals, my mother made sure that I attended at least 25 concerts. I practised for 5 to 6 hours per day during holidays. My mother set targets for me every day to memorise compositions." At the age of 10, Jyotsna started learning under R R Keshavamurthy (RRK), the legend of Indian seven-stringed violin. The artiste gave her first solo performance at the age of 9.
The Carnatic classical music industry is not free of problems. According to her ,one of the major issues in the industry is gender bias. Citing some of the cases, she said, "There have been instances where I have gone to the stage and returned. Vocalists and Mridangam artistes did not want to perform with a lady artiste. This issue is as deep rooted in Carnatic classical music industry as corruption in India."
She also said that artistes give some unconvincing reasons such as ladies have high pitch. "Due to this gender discrimination I have decided to develop my own fusion music style."
Jyotsna has imbibed her own style of playing the violin. Speaking about the same, she said, "I don’t believe in replicating styles blindly. Imitating other musicians will not get you far. When it comes to the Western style, I have imbibed my teacher V S Narasimhan’s style. "
According to the artiste ,fusion must bring out the essence of two styles of music. Carnatic music has its place definitely, but in a small part of India, she said. "It has not yet gone global like Hindustani classical music. My husband and I are trying to promote Carnatic classical music in UK through our organisation, Dhruv Arts. We hosted the London International Arts Festival during the 2012 Olympics which was a world music festival that focussed on Carnatic classical music."
When asked about her most memorable concerts, she explained that during her first solo concert, she was supposed to perform before the main concert of Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan, the violin maestro. "It was a one hour concert. I had prepared for an hour’s concert. Then the organisers told me that the maestro is running late and asked me to continue the concert. I started performing at 6 pm and continued until 8.30 pm. In the end, I stopped, but the organisers still asked me to continue. I told them that all my repertoire stock was over," said Jyotsna with a smile.
What according to her is fusion? Is it the way of diluting the rhythmic intensive and melodic classical music? "My fusion performances are my own compositions featuring different flavours from the world. Playing a composition of Indian classical music with drums and keyboard is not fusion music. Today another craze amongst youngsters is performing these compositions with funky attire, which is utter nonsense. My fusion performances do not include the compositions in classical music. I perform compositions of Saint Thyagaraja, Muttuswamy Dixitar, Shyama Shastri and others in my classical concerts and do full justice to it."