The music legend, Violin Maestro Lalgudi Jayaraman, had a great influence on me as a person when I had the first opportunity to meet him and play the thambura for his violin solo concerts during his visit to Malaysia in 1971.
I was 16 years of age then and studying in high school. When I first met him, I was very scared to even speak to him.
My (late) mother, Sulochana Somasundram who is a musician herself, (my first music guru), told him about me and that I would be playing the thambura for his concert.
When we went up on stage, Lalgudiji smiled and very carefully tuned the thambura himself.
He handed the instrument to me, and said in Tamil, “Do give a small pause between each string that you play so that the full melody (jeeva) of the thambura can be heard.”
It was a really mesmerising concert for the next two and a half hours, with Sangita Kalanidhi Umayalpuram Sivaraman on the mridangam and Vidwan C.K. Shyamsundar on the kanjira.
From that day onwards, his music had an “electric effect” on me, and spurred me to learn this divine art and seek the blessings of Goddess Saraswathi.
My life was never the same again after that musical experience.
I am enclosing two materials:
(1) A photo of this concert (1971) with me on the thambura (please zoom if necessary), and
(2) A video clip of my rendition of “Nadhaloludai” in Raga Kalyana Vasantham, to show the impact of this great musician, God’s one and only edition, on me as a person, and on my musical journey.
His music shall live forever with his students, and the several hundreds and thousands of his ardent rasikas.
Shri Gurubhyo Namaha.
Prof. Venkateswaran Somasundram.