THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Lalgudi G J R Krishnan is one among the very few who are fortunate to learn music right from his father in a setting that he calls ‘gurukulavasam’. The son of violin exponent Lalgudi Jayaraman has carved a niche for himself in playing the instrument. Apart from being a master in violin, he has made a style of his own in the famous Lalgudi bani by staying within its framework. The unique style in playing violin is the brainchild of his father. “The major challenge is to keep the bani alive by arriving at different interpretations by ourselves. Once you listen to the bani of my father, sister (Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi) and me, the difference can be found. Therefore, I am not exactly a carbon copy of the Lalgudi bani,” he says. In this unique style, perfection can be attained only after numerous tries. “But reaching perfection is not easy. So many trivial steps go behind mastering the style, yet once it is reached, the style can never be called trifle.”
He who belongs to the great lineage of Thyagaraja has been seen on stage for solo, trio, jugalbandi and fusion style of performances and has also accompanied vocalists several times. One thing he always keeps in mind while juggling all these roles is not to compromise on aesthetics. “Through generations, lot many research, hard work and assimilation have happened in music. There is classicism, innovation, tradition and dignity that is present in the unique style which is to be kept in mind,” he says.
Meanwhile, he says, learning the “difficult, dangerous and delicate, instrument” would seem a disheartening episode for the learners initially. Since the instrument comes with many intricate nuances in a smaller area of operation it requires great attention and dedication. To attain congruity in the fingering and bowing techniques, one should be patient and determined enough to find the right notes hidden between lot many wrong ones. “Along with the students, the teacher has to be patient enough to guide them in the right direction. One may have to maintain a knowledge regarding the level of understanding of the students so as to groom them,” he says.
In his opinion, the principle in teaching is applicable while making a stage performance too. “It is up to the musician to decide what to do before the audience. Either one can go near the level of understanding of the listener or can elevate them to the standards of the musician,” he says. Having an experience of tackling audience with diverse tastes in various countries including Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, Canada and the USA, he finds that the nature of reception too varies according to the people.
He observes that during performances in Chennai, a concert would begin to lose the audience after two hours in the evenings. “The people there are caught by the 8’O clock syndrome. They are drawn to television soaps by eight in the evening.” For the people in the USA, he finds, there is a longing to hear good music. They will listen to a violin performance for hours until the ragam, thanam and pallavi are finished. “Whereas for Europeans, they are listening to the unfamiliar music from familiar instruments. Their rapt attention continuously for around two hours is amazing. Moreover, there will be pockets of Indians in all places who would come to the concert which adds to our satisfaction,” he concludes.