An Interview with Dr Jayanthi Kumaresh


THE MUMBLE : Hello Dr Kumaresh, & welcome to Scotland. Is this your first time?

DR KUMARESH: This is my first time performing in Scotland though I have visited Scotland as a tourist.

THE MUMBLE : Could you tell the Mumble about your specialist artform, Saraswathi Veena?

DR KUMARESH: The Saraswathi Veena is the national instrument of India and it’ll be my privilege to present it in the 70th year of India’s Independence.  The history of the Saraswathi Veena runs parallel with the history of the Indian Music scene. It has been existent in different forms, sizes and shapes through the last many thousand years. The current Saraswathi Veena is a piece of art that is designed with seven strings, 24 frets and 2 resonators.

THE MUMBLE : You come from a long lineage of musicians, what is the nature of the family bond which continues the tradition?

DR KUMARESH: It is a blessing to be born in a family of musicians. I think I heard a lot of music even when I was in my mother’s womb. We were introduced to music even before we were introduced to words. Not consciously though, but the environment at home was such that somebody or the other was constantly teaching, learning, practicing or performing. These melodies reverberates within me like my voices within and made me very comfortable with the system of Indian Classical Music while I started learning it. Each generation of music in my family was exposed to a different social, economic and cultural phase of India. And each of these influences have added on from one generation to the other which is why we are traditional and yet contemporary.

THE MUMBLE : Who will you be collaborating with at your performance at Celtic Connections?


Jayachandra Rao

DR KUMARESH: Two wonderful percussionists from India are travelling with me and are going to be performing with me in both the venues. Mr. Jayachandra Rao will be performing the south Indian double headed drum called the Mridangam and Mr. Pramath Kiran will present two very characteristic instruments from the North and South of India – the Tabla and the Morching.


THE MUMBLE : The Mumble is a fan of your album, ‘Mysterious Duality,’ – will we be hearing any tracks from this in Glasgow?

DR KUMARESH: Mysterious Duality is a multi-dimensional reflection of the simple yet complex self, expressed through a single instrument, the Veena. Performed by a single artist, who uses only the Veena for the symphonic compositions, overlaying layers of several veena recordings that are based on the grammars and mathematics of India’s Carnatic classical music. The resonance of each of the many strings of seven different Veenas comes together as a harmonious whole, representing the different personas and thoughts of an individual, and the mysterious dualities of a single existential entity. Maybe I’ll perform some portions of the same.

THE MUMBLE : While in the city, will you be taking in the sights, or catching other concerts?

DR KUMARESH: I would love to explore the city and learn about the culture and history of Scotland while I’m there.  I’m also hoping to catch a few other concerts at Celtic Connections.

THE MUMBLE : Finally, will you be returning to Tamil Nadu straight away, or will you be performing elsewhere in the west?

DR KUMARESH: We will be returning to Bangalore City (Karnataka) where I live. I recently completed two tours, one in England for Darbar Festival and an extensive trip to the USA in Fall of 2016.

Dr Jayanthi Kumaresh will be performing at Celtic Connections on Saturday the 28th January: Alongside the Jeremy Kittel Trio : 8PM Glasgow Concert Hall

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