Two renowned flautists, a jugalbandhi of Hindustani and Carnatic music, and a metre-long flute take centrestage at this concert
Next Thursday, the city can tune into a unique confluence of musical talent: one from the Maihar tradition of Hindustani and the other of the Mali tradition of Carnatic. A jugalbandhi will bring together Ronu Majumdar, among the most prominent flautists in Hindustani music, and 23-year-old JA Jayanth, hailed as a prodigy in Carnatic music circles.
Majumdar, who received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award this year, is a trendsetter for his use of a customised double base flute, the shankh bansuri, and the lower octaves he effortlessly creates. “I’ve been coming to Chennai for over 30 years now. This is the Mecca of music,” declares the Mumbai-based musician. Of the audience and their receptiveness to Hindustani music, he says the city “used to be conservative”, focussed only on Carnatic music, but today things have changed—Hindustani musicians perform solo concerts here to a sizeable audience. Majumdar has collaborated with several leading musicians from the city, from M Balamuralikrishna to Bombay Jayashri (his childhood neighbour and friend), and this Margazhi season, with mridangam maestro Umalayalpuram Sivaraman.
For Jayanth, however, this is his first jugalbandhi and he is excited. “I’ve grown up listening to Majumdar’s music. The double base flute, which I use, is one that he successfully introduced to classical concerts,” he says, adding that he has customised a flute for this performance. “It has been designed to the scale of E, which he plays in, as against my scale of D sharp,” he says.
Majumdar is looking foward to the collaboration, too. “He comes from the lineage of Mali, who introduced and popularised the flute in classical music.” Jayanth is the grandson of TS Sankaran, a disciple of legendary flautist Mali.
Performing since the age of seven, Jayanth has gained fame for his distinct technique. “My technique is partly an emulation of the veteran’s (Mali) parrot clutch. I also did minor changes to implement my fingers on the base and the double base flute (incidentally, the longest flute used in Carnatic music, at over one metre). The art of blowing has been perfected by a rigorous practice of the lower and higher octaves and by observing how the angle and direction of blowing can affect the sound,” he says. The duo plans to elaborate on raga Jaijaiwanti and Saraswathi for their concert. Neyveli Venkatesh (mridangam) and Ramdas Palsule (tabla) will accompany them.
At Bharat Kalachar, on January 14, at 5 pm. Details: 28343045