Apr 19, 2014

Book review: Incurable Romantic (Lalgudi Jayaraman)

Came across this book while waiting for my flight at Chennai airport. Managed to finish it in a day or so, skipping only very few pages that were somewhat 'technical'. Biographer: Lakshmi Devnath Publisher: Harper Collins. Here is the link to the book.

Disclaimer: I have not read too many biographies and it is somewhat too early to write my own ;-) I am no expert in this art of book review. Nor am I well versed in technical aspects of Carnatic (or for that matter any other) music. I do listen to and enjoy music of various genres.

Salient features

The book makes very interesting reading, almost like a novel. The author manages to combine the right mix of personal anecdotes and musical aspects of this great musician's career. Given the intense personality clashes and ego that always go with creative talent, there is enough of gossip and interesting stories too.

Nothing is 'overdone' - the artists' lineage, details of his training, personal life, career progress, contributions as a composer, senior artist and 'guru', musicologist are all covered in just the right amount of details.

The language is easy to read, despite liberal use of many Tamil language words and phrases. There is a glossary but I did not need one, so if you don't know the language your view may be different.

There is also a audio CD that accompanies the book with snippets of Lalgudi's violin wizardry.


The author has done a great job, but IMHO there is always scope for improvement.

The family tree could have shown names of a few women members of the family (spouses) who have clearly played important roles in the musical journey of the Lalgudi clan.

Few more anecdotes, opinions and snippets from musicians that have known him personally and are fortunately with us still would have also helped.