Jayanthi Kumaresh

Starting as a child prodigy, Jayanthi Kumaresh has been enthralling music connoisseurs on the world stage for the last 25 years with her soulful expressions through the national instrument of India. Growing up in a familiar lineage of musicians, she was greatly influenced by her maternal uncle, the legendary violinist Sri Lalgudi Jayaraman. Her mentors include her maternal aunt, Smt Padmavathy Ananthagopalan and vīņā maestro Sri Sundaram Balachander. Her projects include collaborations with her husband and violin maestro Kumaresh Rajagopalan.Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh is India’s torch bearer worldwide for Saraswati Veena, the National Instrument of India. An artiste, collaborator, composer, researcher, creator, pioneer, and educator – Dr. Jayanthi’s life achievements over 30 years, truly embodies the rich musical heritage of India – making her one of the legendary Veena masters that India has ever produced.

Apart from several prestigious venues and festivals in India, Jayanthi has performed at several international festivals such as San Francisco Jazz Festival, Darbar festival, Queensland Music Festival, Darwin Music Festival, Adelaide Music Festival and at prestigious venues such as U.N, New York, Palladium, Indiana, Theatre de la Ville, Paris, Northwest folklife festival, Seattle.

She has received many awards in India including “Sangeetha Choodamani”, “Kalaimamani” by the Government of Tamil Nadu, “Veena Naada Mani”, “Kala Ratna”, “Sathyashree”, “Gaana Varidhi”, is a seven-time recipient of The Music Academy, Chennai’s “Award for Veena” to name a few.

A collaborator, she has performed with legends such as Tabla Ustad Zakir Hussain, Violin Maestro Shri. R. Kumaresh and has presented the Saraswathi Veena with the British Philharmonia at Royal Festival Hall, London.

Her innovations in her field are immense. For the first time, one artiste and one instrument created a symphonic effect with seven different Veena layers coming together meaningfully (without any other instrument), Jayanthi’s much acclaimed album “Mysterious Duality” is a path breaker.

A pioneer, Dr. Jayanthi is the founder of the Indian National Orchestra(INO) that features 21 star musicians from all over India, in a first of its kind National Orchestra for Indian classical music.

A researcher, she holds a Doctorate for her work on “styles and playing techniques of the Saraswati veena” and conducts workshops and lecture demonstrations around the world.

She has composed for many musicals and dance productions. Her Thillanas, Varnams and Raga based melodies have been featured in many of her albums.

Jayanthi has recorded for world renowned Labels such as Times Music, Music Today, Sa re ga ma, Sense World and Home Records.

Blending the traditional and the innovative in her music in terms of content, technique, virtuosity and expression, Jayanthi seeks to express the true voice of the veena, which transcends the boundaries of language and region.


Saraswati-vīņā

The rich and resonant sounds of the Vīņā enthrall every music lover. Often simply referred to as a lute, this magical instrument carries a hallowed tradition. The Vīņā bears the distinction of being a truly Vedic era instrument predating what has come to be known as the classical era of music in the Indic heritage.

The Saraswati-vīņā has four main strings constructed and placed in a way that allows the creation of distinctive lingering melody (popularly known as gamak) and three strings on the side meant for tāla or rhythm. It is believed that the four main strings represent and cover the entire mantra-vinyāsa or the spread of verses in the four principal Veda (viz. R̥gveda, Yajurveda, Sāmaveda and Atharvaveda). The three drone strings on the side impart rhythm that structures the melodic composition and spurs the momentum. These three strings are said to represent the three primordial powers or shakti-trayam: the power to wish (icchā-shakti), the power to know (jñāna-shakti) and the power to do (kriyā-shakti).

The 24 frets of a Saraswati-vīņā symbolically represent the 24 existent constituent principles (tattwa) of Sāmkhya philosophy which define the domain of evolution in matter (prakriti and vikriti). These frets are arranged with increasing gaps between them symbolically representing the discrete evolutionary steps and direction of creation. The 25th principle or consciousness itself supersedes all frets, and transcendental absorption at the subtlest level of musical immersion is the ultimate boon of playing the Vīņā.

Read the full article about vīņā written by His Holiness Swami Vidyadhishananda


Collaboration with Hansavedas

VīņāSāman was completed after a three year comparative study between vocal chanting intonations and instrumental melody inflections, as guided by His Holiness Swami Vidyadhishananda, the head monk of Hansavedas Maṭha and founding monk of Self Enquiry Life Fellowship. This specially composed meditative music was inspired by the traditional repertoire of Vedic rhythms attributed to Lord Natarāja Shiva and is part of the preservation project undertaken by the nonprofit organization Self Enquiry Life Fellowship to record and archive meditative Vedic music and chants.

Jayanti Kumaresh

Album Release