Lalgudi G Jayaraman,
Violin Soul: South Indian Classical Music
(Felmay, 2007)

Violin Soul: South Indian Classical Music is a four-track CD by violinist Lalgudi G Jayaraman. While that might not sound like a lot of tracks, this CD contains over an hour's worth of music. The shortest track is longer than 7 minutes while the longest clocks in at more than half an hour!

This CD is the first of five in a series that showcase recordings done by Jayaraman in the late 1970s and early '80s.

The first three tracks of the CD -- "Chemthene Sadha," "Ninnuvina Sukhamugaana, Neeraja Nayana" and "Pariyaachakama" -- comprise about half the CD, time-wise. These three tracks apparently are presented in homage to Thyagaraja, an author famous in Southern India who died in 1847. Thyagaraja is considered a legend in Carnatic music. This traditional style of Southern Indian music is meant to be performed in a singing style. In this case, the instruments do the singing.

The final track on the CD -- "Kamalaambaam" -- is another classic piece, but this time attributed to Muthuswamy Dikshitar who died in 1835. This tune is also in the Carnatic tradition and is one of hundreds of compositions he penned. While this track might be decent background music, I have a very hard time concentrating on it for a full 30 minutes. But I am impressed Jayaraman can keep performing so long without pause!

Three other musicians join Lalgudi G Jayaraman on this instrumental journey through Southern India. Lalgudi G J R Krishnan (Jayaraman's son) also plays violin. Karaikudi R Mani performs on the mridangam, which is a percussion instrument that looks like a drum. T H Vinajakram plays the ghatan, another percussion instrument.

If you enjoy classical Indian music and/or the violin, Violin Soul: South Indian Classical Music might be the CD for you. For me, this CD always makes me hungry. Fortunately, there are several good Indian buffets in my town. Maybe this CD should come with a warning that it might lead one to becoming fat....

review by
Wil Owen

24 October 2009

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