Bombay Jayashri

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Bombay Jayashri
Bombay Jayashri.jpg
Jayashri Ramnath

Kolkata, India
  • singer
  • music composer
  • teacher
Years active1982–present
  • Seetha Subramanian (Music Teacher) (mother)
Musical career
  • vocals

"Bombay" Jayashri Ramnath is an Academy Award nominated, Indian Carnatic music vocalist and music composer. She is a disciple of violin maestro Lalgudi Jayaraman.[1][2] She has performed at various festivals and venues all across India and in over twenty different countries

Early life and training[edit]

Jayashri was born in Kolkata, into a Tamil family of music connoisseurs and musicians. While growing up in Mumbai, she started training in Carnatic music under the guidance of her parents Seetha and N. N. Subramaniam. She attended St. Anthony's High School in Chembur. Soon, she went on to learn with T. R. Balamani, and trained under her for a period of 10 years.[3] Jayashri was also initiated into Hindustani music and trained under Sri Mahavir Jaipurvale and Sri Ajay Pohankar[4] for about six years. When she moved to Chennai, she came under the guidance and mentorship of her guru Lalgudi Jayaraman.[5] She also learnt the veena from G. N. Dhandapani Iyer.[6] Jayashri has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from R. A. Podar College, Mumbai, a Diploma in Music from Gandharva Mahavidyalaya, New Delhi and has been conferred a Doctorate by the Mother Theresa Women's University.[4]


Jayashri performed her first concert in 1982. She has performed at various festivals and venues all across India and in over twenty different countries. In India, she has performed in all the major cities. In New Delhi: The Rashtrapati Bhavan, Vishnu Digambar festival, Gandharva Mahavidyalaya, Sri Shanmukhananda Sabha, India International Centre and Bhakti Utsav. She has performed also at Saptak, Ahmedabad; The Music Academy and Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, Chennai; ITC Sangeet Research Academy, Kolkata;NCPA and Sri Shanmukhananda Sabha, Mumbai; Chowdiah Memorial Hall and Vasantha Habba, Bangalore; Kuthira Malika and Soorya Festival, Trivandrum, The Palace of Mysore and at the Matrimandir Amphitheatre at Auroville. Across India, she has performed for the Spirit of Unity Concerts for National Integration, SPIC MACAY Festivals and All India Radio's Sangeet Sammelan.

In the US, she has performed at the World Music Institute – New York; University of Arizona – Tucson; University of Texas – Austin; MIT – Boston; University of Louisiana – New Orleans; Cornell University and Amherst College.

Jayashri's Europe tours have included venues such as: Saddlers Wells and Queen Elizabeth Hall – London; Festival of Sacred Voices and Museum Rietberg – Switzerland; Vantaa Festival and The Russian Opera House – Helsinki, Finland; Théâtre de la Ville, Festival of Nantes, The Museum of Sculpture and Arts, Musee des Asiatiques and Citi de la Musique – in France; Casa da Musica a Porto – Portugal; Sala de Camera – Spain and at the University of Cologne.

She has also performed at The Royal Opera House – Durban, Monash University – Melbourne and Esplanade Theatre – Singapore.

On September 19, 2017, she performed at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto, Canada, with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra as they gave the world premiere of Mychael Danna's "Life of Pi" suite.

Musical collaboration[edit]

Musical exchanges and dialogues[edit]

Jayashri's jugalbandis with Ronu Majumdar[7] and Shubha Mudgal have been very well received.[8] She has dialogued with artistes in dance like Leela Samson and Priyadarsini Govind.[9] Jayashri has sung Thirukkural and an Annamacharya verse in the prestigious audio autobiography – Wings of Fire of former President Shri Abdul Kalam. She performed in 'Bhaire Baanvari', the story of Meera, conceptualised and directed by Gowri Ramnarayan.[10] She also was a part of 'Mathemagician' with actor V Balakrishnan and written by Gowri Ramnarayan. Jayashri also performed at the MTV Coke Studio(India) Season 1 with Ustad Rashid Khan and Richa Sharma.[11]

Jayashri also conceptualised 'Listening to Life' – A concert that features the journey of a musician as a lover of music.[12]

Cross cultural collaboration[edit]

Jayashri was part of the first ever musical form for the Sangam Period poetry, Yathum Oore (Circa 200B.C.) by Composer Rajan Somasundaram. This song has been declared the theme song of 10th World Tamil Conference and Jayashri has collaborated with many international musicians from across the globe. [13]

Her quest to interact and experiment with various forms of music has resulted in collaborations with various eminent artistes from around the world. She has sung with Egyptian singer Hisham Abbas and Senegalese singer Thione Seck. In 2008, she was part of an Indo-Finnish venture 'Red Earth and Pouring Rain', where she sang Kuṟuntokai  – ancient poems from Sangam literature – with Avanti, a Philharmonic Orchestra from Finland and set to music by Eero Hämeenniemi.[14] In 2012, she sang the poetry of Mirza Ghalib composed by Eero Hämeenniemi at the Vantaa festival, Finland.[15]

Film music[edit]

Jayashri is also a playback singer whose film music includes Collaborations with music composer Harris Jayaraj has won her the Filmfare Awards South for Best Female Playback Singer – Tamil for the popular song "Vaseegara" from the Tamil film Minnale. She sang in Mahesh Dattani's 'Morning Raga' for the music of Amit Heri. She has also sung in various films in Hindi, Kannada, Telugu and Malayalam languages. She collaborated with composer Mychael Danna on "Pi's Lullaby" from the film adaptation of Yann Martel's book Life of Pi in 2012. She sang the song "Zara Zara Bahakta Hain" (the Hindi version of "Vaseegara") in the movie Rehnaa Hai Terre Dil Mein with music composer Harris Jayaraj.

Music composition[edit]

Jayashri worked with Ang Lee on his motion picture, Life of Pi. She performed the lyrics for "Pi's Lullaby", which was nominated for the 2012 Oscars in the Best Original Song category. She has also composed music for actor Revathi's films Verukku Neer and Kerala Cafe.[16] In 2004, Jayashri composed music for Silappadhikaaram, a dance drama commissioned by the Cleveland Cultural Alliance.

Passing on an inheritance[edit]

In 2001, Jayashri, along with Sanjay Subrahmanyan and T. M. Krishna wrote the book 'Prof. Sambamoorthy, the visionary musicologist', detailing the life and times of Prof.Sambamoorthy – eminent Indian musicologist. The book was published to commemorate his birth centenary. In 2007, Jayashri, T. M. Krishna – leading Carnatic vocalist and Mythili Chandrasekar – Senior Vice-President at JWT together wrote the book Voices Within,[17] – a one-of-a-kind coffee table book that captures the pioneering spirit of 7 of the greatest Carnatic masters of the previous generations.

Jayashri featured in the first full length Carnatic music film 'Margazhi Ragam', conceptualised by Director P Jayendra. This was a ground breaking venture that showed Carnatic music in a whole different light. The movie, released in 2008, used the very best and latest technologies for video and sound recording. In her quest to reach music to the next generation, she along with T. M. Krishna and YACM initiated Svanubhava – a week-long Music Festival, exclusively for students of music, which continues to be conducted annually.[18]


Another dimension of music which Jayashri is focused on is in exploring the therapeutic and healing value that music can generate. She has been working closely with institution like Kilikili, Sampoorna in Karnataka and Sankalp in Tamil Nadu which care for autistic children. This domain is a matter of serious engagement for Jayashri and her students. Some other institutions that Jayashri has worked with include: The Banyan Chennai (rehabilitation of homeless/mentally challenged women), Vasantha Memorial Trust (cancer patients),[19] Stepping Stones Orphanage Home, Malaysia, Multiple Sclerosis Society of India, Bangalore[20] and more.

Awards and recognition[edit]

  • Nominated for Academy Award for Best Original Song (Oscar) for Pi's Lullaby from Life of Pi, 2013[21][22][23]
  • "Kamban Pugazh" award from All Ceylon Kamban Kazhakam, Sri Lanka, 2014
  • "Nada Ratna" award from Nada Sudha, Velachery, 2011
  • Honorary Doctorate – Degree of Doctor of Letters (Honoris Causa), awarded by Mother Theresa Women's University, Kodaikkanal, October 2009
  • "Sangeetha Saraswathi" from the South Indian Cultural Association (SICA), during its Golden Jubilee Year, 2009.
  • Sangeetha Kalasarathy award from the Vanamamalai Mutt pontiff Kalian Ramanuja Swamigal on behalf of Sri Parthasarathy Swami Sabha, Chennai, 2007.
  • Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer in 2005.
  • "Kalaimamani Virudhu" from the Government of Tamil Nadu, 2007.
  • "Shanmukha Sangeetha Shiromani" from Shanmukhananda Sabha, Bombay, 2006.
  • "M S Subbulakshmi Puraskar" from Vishaka Music Academy, Visakhapatnam. Conferred By Shri Nedunuri Krishnamurthy, 2006.
  • Received the prestigious 'Sangeetha Choodamani Award' from Dr. A C Muthiah from Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, Chennai in the presence of her Guru Lalgudi Jayaraman, 2005[24]
  • Conferred "Atma Vanishri" from Poojya Shri Shantananda Swami of the Temple of Fine Arts at Varanasi, in the presence Tabla Maestro, Pt. Kishan Maharaj, 2003
  • 'Mani Makudam' by Rajalakshmi Fine Arts, Coimbatore, 2002.
  • Received the 'Kalki Award' from Cine Director K Balachander, on behalf of the Kalki Krishnamoorthy Trust, 2002.
  • Filmfare Award for Best Female Playback Singer – Tamil for the song 'Vaseegara' from the movie Minnale, 2001.
  • 'Naadabhooshanam' by Shanmukhananda Sangeetha Sabha, New Delhi, 2001.
  • 'Asthana Vidhushi' of the Shringeri Mutt, 2001.
  • Conferred the title of 'Isai Peroli' by Dr. P Chidambaram, Union Minister of Finance, on behalf of the Karthik Fine Arts, in the presence of Music Maestro Balamurali Krishna, 1997.
  • "Yuvakala Bharati" conferred by Bharat Kalachar, Chennai, 1992.
  • Vijay Award for Best Female Playback Singer for the song 'Yaaro Manathilae' from the movie Dhaam Dhoom, 2008.
  • "Rama Gana Kalacharya" award in 2019 conferred by the Rama Seva Mandali, Bangalore


The relatives of Malayalam poet Irayimman Thampi and the Irayimman Thampi Smaraka Trust alleged that the lyrics penned by Bombay Jayshree for “Pi’s Lullaby”, which was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Original Song category for the 2012 film Life of Pi, were copied from Thampi's lullaby Omanathinkal Kidavo.[25] Jayashri had rendered 'Omanathinkal Kidao' in a Malayalam version back in 2001 on her album Vatsalyam.[26]


  • Smaranam: Song of the Soul (2010, Inreco )
  • WindSong – Classical Jugalbandi by Pandit Ronu Majumdar & Bombay Jayashri (2010, Kosmik)
  • Confluence of Elements (2007, Saregama)
  • Kannamma (2007, Rajalakshmi Audio)
  • Azhaga (2006, Rajalakshmi Audio)
  • Salokyam (2005, Charsur Digital Workstation)
  • Margam (2004, Rajalakshmi Audio)
  • Kashi (2003, Charsur Digital Workstation)
  • Panchabhutams (2003, Music Today)
  • Shyama (2003, Music Today)
  • Vatsalyam (2001, Charsur Digital Workstation)
  • Shravanam: Music for Meditative Listening (2001, Charsur Digital Workstation 018)
  • Atma: Soul (2000, Charsur Digital Workstation 6235)

Swapn Sunehere(Jeeva Nadhi) 2015 Baahubali The Beginning Mamta Se Bhari 2015 Baahubali The Beginning

Semmozhi Anthem[edit]

Jayashri was one among the singers who sang the "Semmozhiyaana Thamizh Mozhiyaam" song for the World Classical Tamil Conference 2010. She also appeared on the screen after T. L. Maharajan and was followed by Aruna Sayeeram. The visualisation of the theme song was directed by the renowned director Gautham Menon which had an extremely positive response from the audience. The song features the fusion of various musical cultures including Carnatic, Folk, Acoustic, Sufi, Rock and Rap.

The Lyrics of the song was written by the popular politician M. Karunanidhi and composed by A. R. Rahman. The other popular singers who sang the theme song are T. M. Soundararajan, P. Susheela, T. L. Maharajan, Aruna Sayeeram, Nithyasree Mahadevan, S. Sowmya, T. M. Krishna, Srinivas, Naresh Iyer, Harini, Chinmayi, Karthik, Hariharan, Yuvan Shankar Raja, Vijay Yesudas, G. V. Prakash Kumar, Blaaze, Lady Kash, Shruthi Hassan and Chinna Ponnu.

Film playback singing[edit]

Album Songs[edit]

She sang the indoarabic single album Habibi Dah (Nari Narain)(Nari Nari) along with Hisham Abbas in 2001.


  1. ^ "Profile". Retrieved 10 January 2013.
  2. ^ "AcademyAward". Retrieved 11 January 2013.
  3. ^ Smt.T.R.Balamani
  4. ^ a b SIMA - Bombay Jayashri Ramnath Profile page
  5. ^ Jayashri on her Guru Shri Lalgudi Jayaraman
  6. ^ Famous vocalists – Thinkquest page Archived 31 January 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ The Hindu's Review of the Jugalbandi between Bombay Jayashri and Ronu Majumdar
  8. ^ The Hindu's Review of the Jugalbandi between Bombay Jayashri and Shubha Mudgal
  9. ^ When dance meets music
  10. ^ The Hindu's Review of Bhaire Baanvari'
  11. ^ Coke Studio Video
  12. ^ The Hindu's Review of Listening to Life, staged in Bangalore
  13. ^ [ Yathum Oore Anthem]
  14. ^ Alba Records – 'Rain and Red Earth'
  15. ^ Vantaa Festival – Video: Interview with Bombay Jayashri
  16. ^ Verukku Neer – A telefilm
  17. ^ Voices Within
  18. ^ Svanubhava
  19. ^ Vasantha Memorial Trust, Endrum Vasantham
  20. ^ Multiple Sclerosis Society of India Concert
  21. ^ Oscar cheer for India: Bombay Jayashri bags nomination | Deccan Chronicle Archived 11 January 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ Bombay Jayashri bags Oscar nomination – Hindustan Times Archived 10 January 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ Life of Pi brings India in focus at Oscars with 11 nominations – Entertainment – DNA
  24. ^ Sangeetha Choodamani Award
  25. ^ Oscar-nominated Pi's Lullaby in plagiarism controversy Times of India
  26. ^ Bombay Jayashri Biography

External links[edit]