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............."