University for Music in Tamilnadu (Posted in November, 2012)

In Ammagaru's office on my birthday 09/11/12, handing over my ardent request for Music University in Tamilnadu.The assurance th...


Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Veena Vidushi and Guru Smt.Jayalakshmi Sugumar
(Smt.Jayalakshmi Sugumar is the grand daughter of veena legend, late Sri.Karaikudi Sambasiva Iyer, founder of the magnificent Karaikudi Bani and the daughter of veena vidushi, late Smt.Sankari Ammal.Smt. Jayalakshmi Sugumar had taught in Kalakshetra from the year 1966 and shifted to Pondicherry in 1976 where she continued her services till the year 1981.After this she worked for Singapore Indian Fine Arts Society for 7 years to return to Pondicherry to teach in the prestigious music college of Pondicherry- Bharathiyar Palgalaikoodam.Smt. Jayalakshmi once again returned to Singapore Indian Fine Arts Society after her fruitful work in Pondicherry music college for 7 years. Her service for SIFAS was from 1995 to 1998. In 1998 Smt.Jayalakshmi Sugumar started her won veena school on the lines of her illustrious grand father, Sri.Karaikudi Sambasiva Iyer-VAINEEKA MUSIC.She is not at all for awards or rewards. Her affectionate, selfless and soulful approach to her students is evident in the high quality of music she imparts to them.)
"Veenayin Edirkaalam Singapoorla...." phrase from my extempore speech for the veena arangetram of Kumari G.V.Abhirami (disciple of Smt.Jayalakshmi Sugumar) was greeted by thundering applause from the audience.
The veena arangetram was designed on the lines of an elaborate and colourful opera. While appreciating the noteworthy effort and talent of the performer G.V.Abhirami, my mind registered the powerful role of Abhirami's Guru in the entire presentation of the veena arangetram. The style was unique and classy! As we all know, Karaikudi Bani is highly conservative and well known for combining voice with veena. Singing while playing the veena is no mean feat. Apart from sruthi alignment it is also difficult to coordinate voice with veena. Despite the ordeals, Karaikudi Bani is steadfast about not losing voice with veena and the school does a splendid job of the same!
The arangetram was also an informative affair with the opening Ata Thala varnam in Bhairavi (Viriboni) displaying all the "Dasa Vidha Gamakas" that are so important for veena. I was amazed at the meticulous thought and effort that went behind the preparation of the aragetram and the soulful guidance of Guru Smt.Jayalakshmi Sugumar.
The highlight of the arangetram was the ragamalika thanam. The design of the thanam was like an exotic piece of jewelry, the tonal modulation and the musical thrust, especially in the Malayamarutham segment were breathtaking.
The world of veena music need teachers like Smt.Jayalakshmi Sugumar to put an end to meaningless questions like ,"Is there a future for veena?" or "Why aren't there many veena players?" etc.
Owing to the fact that Smt.Jayalakshmi Sugumar lives in Singapore, "Veenayin Edirkaalam Singapoorla............."


LK said...

hmmm.. what about the people? how many people in chennai are ready to learn it as an art

alchemister said...

Well said!

There are, and will be always excellent vainikas who provide 'vidya dhanam' whole heartedly. Most likely, they will not be in the limelight. Its up to the learners!

Lakshmi said...

Playing Veena is one among the "Aya Kalaigal 64".Chennai people should develop the patience to learn and put in regular practice to master in the art. It requires time, encouragement and motivation. Learning and performing in Veena is not like instant coffee tea or ready mix. You can even say learning to sing few songs in Super Singers.

E.Gayathri said...

Dear Mr.Alchemister,
I am happy you like the article, I agree with you!
Thank you!

E.Gayathri said...

Dear Mr.LK and Ms.Lakshmi,
There are many brilliant artistes in Chennai and other parts of India/and the world.
But the takers are not as many compared to vocal. I agree with you Ms. Lakshmi that art is not like instant coffee. It needs abs. dedication and hard work.
Thank you!

Saranya S said...

Absolutely madam! As you rightly mentioned, its not instant coffee and it needs abs.We need to spend more time on practicing. Though many people start learning, only a few continue to practise. I think perseverance is what is lacking among few veena learners of today.

LK said...

//But the takers are not as many compared to vocal//

thats what the problem is

Mythili said...

I always wanted to ask you this:-
"Drona'rukku oru Arjunan maadiri, ungaloda 'kalai-vaarisu yaar?"

E.Gayathri said...

Yes Mr. L.K, you are right!

E.Gayathri said...

Ms. Mythili,
I don't know about Arjuna, there could be Ekalavyas!

'E' SWARA said...

Your Vishnu Sahasranamam daily fills the air in my house.
thank you so much!

girija said...

I am glad to introduce myself as an old student of Smt Jayalakshmi Sugumar. I was fortunate enough to hear Mdm Gayathri's words about our
Guru on that day. While thanking her for unveiling the same to the world(outside Singapore) by registering them in her blog, I must accept that Mdm Gayathri proved to be GREAT in delivering her speech during that arangetram.Her words were from her heart. In today's world, it is very rare to appreciate another talent from one's own field. Truly, she is a role model for other celebrities. - Girija.

E.Gayathri said...

Dear Sri.E'swara,
I am very happy to hear that, thank you so much!

E.Gayathri said...

Dear Ms. Girija,
First and foremost, I thank you for your kind appreciation of my speech and article in my blog (about your veena Guru). I agree that words of praise are hard to hear in today's world. In my case my happiness in appreciating great work (like that of Smt.Jayalakshmi Sugumar) is enhanced when I express the same.
Ofcourse I don't deserve to be called as someone great, thank you for the affection!

Gayathri said...

Dear Madam,

This is Gayathri from Singapore...I am really happy to see this article in your blog about my guru Veena Vidhushi Smt Jayalakshmi Sugumar.I am proud to share that i am one of her current students.

Indeed, she is a gem of person. A very patient and rare teacher in present days.. Lucky to have her with us in Singapore :)

It was really good to see you in Abhi's arangetram. I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to you for your appreciation of my guru (Jaya teacher deserves it!!!)

You are one of my favourite players... Hope to see you in Singapore soon for your next concert.

Best wishes,

E.Gayathri said...

Dear Ms. Gayathri,
I am glad you liked the article. I do share every one of your sentiments about your Guru.
Thank you for your kind appreciation of my music and my blog.

Sandhya said...

Hi Madam, This is Sandhya and I'm one of Jaya teacher's students as well. It feels great to see this article on your blog.

She is indeed a great teacher and also a great human being, having learnt alot on things even other than music. She's very dedicated and makes sure she gets to even the nitty gritty. Having done my arangetram in 2006 in Chennai under her guidance, I cannot say anything more on how good a teacher she is.

It felt great to see you in Singapore for the arangetram, and I'm glad to say that I'm one of your huge fans. Loved your speech on the arangetram day, it was genuinely straight from the heart and I also spoke to you outside the theatre. :) Thank you so much :)

Hope to see your concert here very soon :):)


E.Gayathri said...

Dear Ms.Sandhya,
I do share your kind sentiments bout your Guru. Thank you for your appreciation of my music and speech, they are straight from my heart.
I wish you all the best in veena,
hope to see you too very soon!

VK said...

Hi Madam,

I am Wendy, a student of Mrs Sugumar, and as a non Indian student, I had many difficulties understanding the finer aspects of Indian music and still do after all these years.. However I am forever grateful to teacher to have me as a student. To start with I am tone-deaf and knew absolutely nothing of music, much less about the veena. However teacher said to me that anyone can learn to appreciate and play music and she patiently taught me. I had my frustrations and thought of giving up at times, but the dedication shown by teacher motivated me to carry on. More than ten years on..I am still working hard to master the instrument, but I can honestly said that I am enjoying every minute of each lesson with her and whatever practice that I can put into with my current busy schedule. I would like to use this space of yours to express my heartfelt thanks to her.
Unfortunately I did not get to attend Abhirami's arangetram nor your concert because I was out of the country on both occasions, which was really sad for me.
Thank you.


E.Gayathri said...

Dear Ms. Wendy,
It is heartwarming to know about your experience with your teacher, Smt.Jayalakshmi Sugumar. I am sure you will achieve a lot under her able and hearty guidance.
All the best to you,