Last week, we sat down with the legendary Indian vocalist Bombay Jayashri to discuss her incredible career, and her upcoming visit to the UK. On the 24th March, the acclaimed Carnatic singer will perform in Liverpool for one night only. Marking her first performance in the UK in over 15 years, Jayashri last performed in the country back in 2008, at London’s Southbank Centre:
“It was such a fantastic event. I remember little details of that concert. The stage, the decor was in pink and yellow. I have such fond memories of a great audience and fantastic acoustics. We had a blast of a time.”
“Of course, prior to that, I’ve come to Milap for workshops with the beautiful students. They’re energetic students who are so eager to learn…”
With a career spanning over three incredible decades, Jayashri has broken barriers as a cultural ambassador of India’s rich heritage. Her artistry has encapsulated the meaning of ‘East meets West’; having performed extensively throughout the subcontinent and further abroad, the performer has the extremely rare privilege of being the first Carnatic classical vocalist to have graced the stage in some of the world’s finest Opera Houses.
“I think travel has taught me much more than any school or college that I have gone to, because it’s about people. It’s about relationships, how you communicate, how you’re inspired by that, their cultural identity. How you see your cultural identity through their lens, how they see yours, how I see theirs, so yes, travel is important, specifically in many, many countries in Europe, UK, Germany, France, Portugal, and Spain.”
Known for her distinctive vocal range and quality, her incredibly varied repertoire features songs from various Indian languages including Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and Hindi. A frequent headliner at major Indian festivals, her finely honed voice exudes a hypnotism difficult to resist.
“Indian classical music is a very systematised way of singing. We have two forms. The Hindustani Indian classical music and the Carnatic Indian classical music, two very different forms. The Hindustani is practiced in the Northern states, Carnatic is practiced in the four, now five Southern states of India, they’re very different, in grammar, in architecture, in temperament, the way they flow, the phraseology, though they come from the same route, which is the seven notes. And that’s because of the different influences that South India has had, as opposed to the different influences North India has had in terms of who the people were that ruled the place, who are the people who patronised the music, what languages North Indians speak, how those languages then in turn affected, the presentation of the music and all of that. So they’re very different. But yet, to someone who’s outside India, they may still seem very similar.”
In 2012, Jayashri was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Original Song category for ‘Pi’s Lullaby,’ from the film Life of Pi, and in 2021, Jayashri was awarded a Padma Shri – India’s fourth highest civilian award.
Bombay Jayashri, alongside H.N. Bhaskar (violin), Sai Giridhar (mridangam) and Giridhar Udupa (ghatam) will perform at Liverpool’s The Tung Auditorium on Friday, 24th March 2023. Tickets are available to purchase at thetungauditorium.com/events/bombay-jayashri-in-concert