Notes from a melody maker JA Jayant
Flutes possess a mesmerising power to whisk its listeners away into a realm of melodies, and Jayant’s performances stand testament.
CHENNAI: Amid the bustling sounds in Chennai, one can find an artiste’s mellifluous flute melodies rising above the urban symphony. Meet JA Jayant, a musical virtuoso wearing multiple hats as a performer, collaborator, teacher, and composer, sharing the enchantment of flute music worldwide. With several feathers in his cap, Jayant is now poised to grace international stages with his captivating performances.
Into the world of flutes
Growing up in a family of musicians, Jayant ventured into the world of music at the age of 4. Although it may have seemed like his path was predetermined, it was his unwavering passion that truly fuelled his journey. His grandfather, the legendary flautist TS Sankaran served as his first mentor, introducing him to the instrument.
“I’ve heard my parents tell me that I never used to sleep or have my food without listening to music,” chuckles Jayant. He gave his inaugural performance at the age of 7 and over the years, he has had the privilege of collaborating with numerous Carnatic music maestros, including luminaries such as Vellore Ramabhadran, TV Gopalakrishnan, TK Murthy, and violinist Sikkil Bhaskaran, among others, solidifying his mark in the field of flutes.
While talking to CE and reflecting on the hurdles he faced while carving his musical path, Jayant shares, “I’ve had to leap over numerous walls and go the extra mile to ensure my presence amid the crowd.” He acknowledges that these challenges played a pivotal role in shaping his exceptional skills and enabling him to gain recognition.
Recognising the universal appeal of the flute as an instrument that naturally captivates audiences with its melodious notes, Jayant has dedicated countless hours to perfecting the resonance and tonal quality of the flute, a dedication that undeniably shines through in his performances.
Another remarkable aspect of Jayant’s artistry lies in his distinction as the sole Carnatic flautist to introduce the 106 cm-long Double Bass (Bansuri) flutes into his performances, weaving a meditative enchantment around his listeners while also showcasing his mastery on 15 cm-long piccolo flutes. What truly sets him apart is his unparalleled virtuosity in fingering and flute-blowing techniques, which earns him admiration and recognition from fellow flautists worldwide. When asked about the effort he invests in his renditions, Jayant humbly remarks, “I’ve dedicated myself to honing my blowing techniques, and my unwavering commitment to pursuing the flute as a full-time profession has paved the way for me to excel in my craft.”
Flutes possess a mesmerising power to whisk their listeners away into a realm of melodies, and Jayant’s performances stand testament. The artist is all set to showcase his talent at prestigious international venues, including the Fes Festival in Morocco on September 20, renowned as one of the largest World Sacred Spirit Festivals, where his participation in this event would mark him as the youngest Carnatic musician and flautist to grace its stage. Furthermore, he is set to captivate audiences at the Theatre de la Ville in Paris, enchanting the crowds at Sodra Teatern in Stockholm, Sweden, the Theatre by QE2 in Dubai, and the Jaffna International Cultural Centre in Sri Lanka, among many other illustrious destinations.
Unlike many other instruments, flutes transcend genre boundaries, asserts Jayant. “It’s an instrument that is invariably liked by everyone, capable of harmonising across genres and geographical spaces. Its mere presence and enchanting sound make it stand out,” adds Jayant, reflecting on his fulfilling 20-year musical journey, a symphony of contentment.
This being said, Jayant has woven his musical legacy with acclaimed artists and bands, such as Pt. Ronu Majumdar, a Bansuri virtuoso, for captivating Jugalbandhi performances. He has also collaborated with the Danish ensemble New Jungle Orchestra, Pt. Ashwani Sankar, and various other musical prodigies.
As our conversation drew to a close, I couldn’t help but notice the infectious enthusiasm in his voice, offering a glimpse into the excitement he undoubtedly channels to his audience. Jayant’s performances are not just musical notes; they are vessels of creativity, each journey beginning from the very moment he sets his tanpura in motion.