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Anecdotes about Musicians—27.

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  • Anecdotes about Musicians—27.

    Anecdotes about Musicians—27.

    27.Radha ( 1932…) and Jayalakshmi ( 1932-- 2014)

    Radha and Jayalakshmi, popularly known as Radha Jayalakshmi ,were Carnatic music vocalist duo as well as playback singers in films in the 1940s and 1950s, before they became music teachers. The playback singer is Jayalakshmi but was named as Radha Jayalakshmi in the cine field. Actually, Radha was her cousin sister and singing partner on the stage performances. They were trendsetters in the Carnatic music world after Brinda-Mukta of the Veena Dhanammal school of music.which started in the 1950s, with performers like Soolamangalam Sisters, and later continued by Bombay Sisters, Ranjani-Gayatri and Priya Sisters.

    Radha and Jayalakshmi were cousins. Jayalakshmi had her roots in Srirangam while Radha's family hails from Chengalpattu. But they were born in Chennai and both of them grew up together in the city. They started giving performances from the young age of 14.Their teacher .R. Balasubramaniam was one of the primary disciples of G.N.B.


    Radha and Jayalakshmi were from the G.N.Balasubramaniam school, where they learned classical vocal music from the noted vocalist and teacher himself. Radha had rendered her 'ringing' trained, cultured sweet voice in Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu and Kannada movies from the late 1940s till the end of the 1950s. In the film "Deivam", Kunnakkudi Vaidyanathan had Radha and Jayalakshmi to render Thiruchendooril Por Purindhu, the song set in Tiruthani. During the 1950s many music directors gave her many memorable songs, including K. V. Mahadevan, G. Ramanathan and Vedha, She sang many popular duets mostly with T. M. S,, A.M.Raja and Seerkazhi Govindarajan. She also sang duets with female singers , most notably with Jikki, P.Leela , Soolamangalam Rajalakshmi, M. L.V,and S. Varalakshmi.


    After listening to them singing for All India Radio (AIR), recording companies made a beeline to release their songs rendered in a unique style, but immersed deeply in the classical tradition. Jayalakshmi sang a large number of semi-classical songs in films, for music directors including S.V. Venkatraman, K.V. Mahadevan, S.M. Subbaiah Naidu and Kunnakudi Vaidhyanathan. Her solo song, 'Manamey Muruganin Mayilvahanam', and the duet with Radha, 'Thiruchenduril Porpurinthu', continue to entice lovers of music.


    As stated above a famous solo rendering by Jayalakshmi is "Maname Muruganin Mayilvaganam"

    It is a beautiful song in four lines in praise of the Lord of Beauty & Benevolence:

    My Mind is the Peacock Vahana of Lord Murugan
    My Tender Mango leaf like body is Gugan's Temple
    My Voice is the Chime of the Bell at the Temple in Chenthoor
    Tolling O' Guha & O' Shanmuga

    Their voices are the chimes of the Bell at the Temple in Chenthoor.


    After a concert the Violin Maestro T.M.Chowdiah declared –"I am particularly fond of these youngsters Radha and Jayalakshmi. I have known them from the days of their tender youth. They are the shishyas of my close friend Sri G.N. Balasubramaniam. I have said before… they are to me "GNB in sarees". They truly embody the excellence of their master. Just as we extol a daughter for being as good as her mother, the disciple should emulate the guru sincerely and be a worthy successor."


    The duo were awarded the 1981 Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in Carnatic Music – Vocal.

    Vidushi Jayalakshmi died in Chennai on 27 May 2014.