‘In the west, pop music is very popular. They always wanted to blend pop with Indian music. We are coming out with an ‘interlace’, i.e. interlacing East with the West- the different cultural styles…,’ says Dr Jyotsna, who has herself skillfully stringed and interlaced her medical profession with musical passion.
Her journey into music began at the age five, string by string, qualifying her to render a concert successfully at the age of eight. Her mother, Vidushi Rathna Srikantaiah, recalls 10-month-old Jyotsna tuning the tanpura! The traditional environment in which she grew laid lot of stress on studies.
A front bencher and top gold medallist all through, Jyotsna pursued music with devotion and dedication alongside her medical journey. Jyotsna, who was inspired by Kunnikudi Vaidyanathan’s violin came under the tutelage of Sangeetha Vidya Saagara R R Keshava Murthy, the living legend of seven-stringed violin. She has the privilege of accompanying Dr Balamurali Krishna, when she was a first year medical student.
Once she was qualified with a PG in Pathology, a full fledged doctor, and a full time professional artist, it was time for Dr Jyotsna to choose between profession and passion. But for this versatile multifaceted personality, both were on the forefront of the priority list. She took up a job in medical software – the healthcare division of TATA consultancy services. Her colleague, K V Srikanth Sharma, a renowned vocalist, violinist and software engineer came into her life as her life partner.
When he got posted to London, Dr Jyotsna was well established here in India giving over 20-25 concerts a month, and well settled in her medical profession too. A friendly gesture in her husband’s call to try her destiny there in London opened up a new vista to Dr Jyotsna. Earlier, she had visited London, while performing all over the world.
“Violin is one versatile instrument used in all genres of music, be it classical, film, light music. It has travelled from the West to the East.
To understand the full form of violin, one has to learn the western classical violin, to be complete violinist,” says Dr Jyotsna, who initially learnt violin from The Bangalore School of Music. Her greater thrust to learn the instrument in detailed aspect, charged her to Chennai, to be the privileged Shishye of renowned maestro V S Narasimhan, the solo violinist for Ilayaraja. This opened a fresh path for Jyotsna to play violin for films under the music direction of stalwarts like Hamsalekha, Ilayaraja and others. Meanwhile she did all her grade exams from the Royal School of Music, London.
‘Women violinists face some weird situations. It’s very pathetic to see the attitude of musicians being very closed and narrow minded. Most of the male artists say a ‘NO’ to women violin accompaniment. I have faced this torture in India. Many a times I was forced to leave the dais without playing, just because I’m a female violinist. There is no one to voice this. It is surprising and shocking to find even the top female vocalists refusing female violinists,” says Dr Jyotsna.
London though, being a centre for all cultural activities for both Indian music and western classical, welcomed Dr Jyotsna’s talent with open warm arms.
She started accompanying Indian artists, gradually started off with solo performances and started performing in all international music festivals regularly.
She has performed for quite a few prestigious organisations in India and abroad. To name a few. She got a chance to perform in Red Violin festival in Wales, where violinists of different genres, like Jazz, folk and country perform. She was also invited by Discovery channel and the National Geographic channel to render background music.
Having established her own music group called ‘Fusion Group’, she travels often to Europe to perform. She has also come out with an album of music based on violin in global styles. At present, she is working on organising an Indian violin concerto.
Her artistic fingers are indeed creative enough to string together every single opportunity that comes her way!