Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi

By Suchita Rao

The Lalgudi bani

It is basically a vocal bani demonstrated on the violin. We take extra care to follow the lyrics when we approach a composition. The glides and intonations typical of vocal music are closely simulated on the violin. It is very heartening when rasikas tell us that they can actually hear the lyrics when we play the violin. Not only the fingering but also the bowing has been developed by my guru and father Lalgudi Jayaraman to bring out the nuances and continuity typical of vocal music. The Lalgudi bani pays attention to emotions and aesthetics.

The influence of her late grandmother

Savitri Ammal, my father’s mother who passed away recently, was an iron-willed lady, hard working, emotionally very strong—which is why she could be a silent spectator when Grandfather put Appa and my aunts through a rigorous upbringing. She could sing from memory all the folk songs composed by her mother-in-law. She was quite a cerebral person who enthusiastically solved puzzles and riddles. It was quite a sight to watch her play board games with my father when she was over eighty. She was a repository of proverbs and interesting folklore.

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