The ‘Lalgudi Bani’ (bani is vernacular for style) is a creation of Sri Lalgudi Jayaraman’s genius. It is a bani where music takes the forefront, and technique is viewed only as a means of projecting and expressing the melody. The bani aspires to make the violin sing, and this is the focal point around which it has evolved. The bani is a blend of melody and rhythm – each complementing the other; and where rhythm, while by itself intricate and fascinating, is necessarily an undercurrent, and subservient to melody.
In the interpretations and delineation of ragas, the bani prides itself on its ability to outline their defining and characteristic melodic forms within the first few phrases. In the rendition of a kriti, the Lalgudi bani encapsulates the spirit of the composer
and composition, and brings to life the meaning and mood of the lyrics.
This approach naturally necessitates the choice of appropriate and optimum tempo, gamakas (oscillations), and related musical nuances. Contained in this effort are also lofty values such as bhakti towards music, the composer, the guru, and the Almighty.
A study of this bani, his numerous exquisite compositions, solo and accompaniment performances will reveal Sri Lalgudi Jayaraman’s genius, artistic sensitivity and technical brilliance, his research orientation, respect for tradition, urge to innovate, quest for perfection and keen sense of aesthetics.
The result is scintillating, captivating and mesmerizing music.
Lalgudi Rama Iyer
Lalgudi Rama Iyer was a direct disciple of Saint Tyagaraja (1767-1847). He was the court musician of the Royal House of Mysore under the benevolent Mummadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar. At the request of Rama Iyer, St. Tyagaraja not only visited the village Lalgudi, but also stayed in his house and composed five masterpieces on the presiding deities of Lalgudi, called the ’Lalgudi Pancharatnam’, which were later popularised by Lalgudi Jayaraman.
Valadi Radhakrishna Iyer
Valadi Radhakrishna Iyer was one of the four sons of Lalgudi Rama Iyer. He was the first violinist in the family. He was also one of the first in the field of violin accompaniment in Carnatic music.
Madurai Kandasamy Bhagavatar
Valadi Radhakrishna Iyer’s elder son Kandasamy Bhagavatar was a reputed violinist who earned a place for himself as an accompanist. He is known to have accompanied many great vidwans of his time, like Mazhavarayanendal Subbarama Bhagavatar and Harikesanallur Muthiah Bhagavatar.
Lalgudi V. R. Gopala Iyer
Valadi Radhakrishna Iyer’s younger son and Lalgudi Jayaraman’s father Gopala Iyer was a violinist, composer, poet and a teacher par excellence. His composing skills burst forth as kritis in rare ragas like Uthari, Suddha Tharangini, Velavali, Gandharva Manohari, Bhuvana Mohini, Sindhu Kriya, Megha Ranjani and Niranjani. His composition Thaamadham Thagaadhayya in Mohana Kalyani is very popular kriti.