I came across the Ragehsri tillana composed by Lalgudi Jayaraman for the first time in a recording of Nedunuri Krishnamurthy’s concert. He had sung it beautifully and I totally fell in love with it. I immediately sat down and learnt the composition. Around late 1990 I even sang it in a radio concert. I heard later from a Lalgudi student that he (Lalgudi Jayaraman) had heard/heard about this and enquired as to where I had picked this up! I also learnt that the tillana was specially composed having Nedunuri Krishnamurthy in mind. Of the many stories floating around those days, the Khamas tillana of Lalgudi Jayaraman was apparently composed keeping ML Vasantakumari in mind. I had sung the Rageshri tillana a few times in the early nineties and kind of gave it up. No particular reason, these things just happen! Anyway last year at the Music Academy I decided to revisit this tillana and sang it. This recording is from that Academy concert in Dec 2019. There is a small moment when I begin the tillana because the of the ‘priceless’ expression given by violinist Varadarajan. It was a shock for him as he had never heard me sing a Lalgudi tillana! Rageshri is a beautiful ragam and this composition brings out the essence of it quite wonderfully.


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