JT Jeyaraaj Krishnan and Jaysri Jeyaraaj Krishnan (popularly known as Jeyaraaj and Jaysri) are amongst the leading veena players in the carnatic tradition. Based in Chennai, they are passionate Vainikas who believe that Veena holds a revered place in Classical Music and have dedicated themselves towards preserving and propagating the “Gayaki” style of playing the Veena. Well known for their authentic classical renderings appealing to both the connoisseur and the layman, the couple’s music is noteworthy for a rare combination of aesthetics and virtuosic skills. “A” grade veena artistes of AIR Chennai, this husband and wife team has regaled audiences in India and abroad.
Jeyaraaj and Jaysri belong to the direct Shishya Parampara of Nadajyoti Sri Muthuswamy Dikshitar – who is one among the famous Trinity of Carnatic Music.
Jeyaraaj and Jaysri, both born and brought up in Kolkata, started their intensive training in vocal and veena music at a very tender age under the tutelage of Vainika Vidwan Late A. Anantharama Iyer and his sister Late A. Champakavalli who continued the Dikshitar Parampara they imbibed from their father Brahmasri Ananthakrishna Iyer, a direct disciple of Ambi Dikshitar, the great grand nephew of Muthuswamy Dikshitar.
Jeyaraaj and Jaysri have also been extremely fortunate to receive tutelage from Sangeetha Acharya Late Vidwan Shri Chingleput Ranganathan.
They have had the privilege of presenting a lecture demonstration on Muthuswamy Dikshitar’s Kritis in the august presence of Pujya Swami Dayananda Saraswathiji at Arsha Vidhya Gurukulam, Anaikatti, Coimbatore, which was widely appreciated.
Firm in their belief that veena music should be representative of vocal music, the artists have presented many intricate pallavis in their concerts, including nadai pallavis and pallavis in 8-kalai. They have also performed Marathon Concerts extending 4 or more hours which have been very well received.
Novel thematic presentations have also been part of the artists’ renderings, some of them being concerts based on Dasavathara, Subramanya, and those comprising exclusively of Dikshitar Krithis, or Thyagaraja compositions.
They have had the privilege of performing at the AKASHVANI SANGEETH SAMMELAN as well as the National Programme of Music.
Jeyaraaj and Jaysri have also used the platform of Lecture Demonstrations to popularize and highlight the attributes of the Veena. The Indian Fine Arts Society, Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, Gayana Samaja and other organizations have featured Jeyaraaj and Jaysri in special programmes during their prestigious annual festivals, where, a rare insight was provided into the evolution of the instrument, tracing its history from the Vedic Ages to its contemporary pride of place in the world of Carnatic Music.
Jeyaraaj and Jaysri have been regularly called upon to participate in concerts organized by “The Veena Foundation”, New Delhi in various parts of the country.
Apart from the famed December Music Season in Chennai, the artists have been featured in prestigious festivals around the country.
The couple has started an organization called “VEENAVAADHINI”, with multifarious objectives, namely, teaching keen students the art of veena playing; conducting chamber concerts to provide an accessible platform for musicians; retracing Muthuswamy Dikshitar’s pilgrimage and singing the kritis that he has composed on various gods and goddesses enshrined in the respective temples; and undertaking a MAMMOTH ARCHIVAL PROJECT OF RECORDING 1000 COMPOSITIONS AND 100 RAGA ALAPANAS played on the veena by the duo.