Hailing from Bangalore and now based in London, Jyotsna is Europe’s foremost Indian violinist. Her music illuminates Carnatic musical tradition in kaleidoscope colour. Approaching every musical interaction with a forward-thinking outlook and elastic expressivity, Jyotsna is just as likely be found reveling in raga rotations or jamming in free jazz, often marrying the two.
Jyotsna’s musical tutelage began at home guided by her mother, Ratna Srikantiah, a Carnatic vocalist and teacher. Dedicated from a young age, as a girl Jyotsna would practice for six hours daily and attend concerts in the evenings. At the age of six she saw violin legend Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan perform and was inspired to take up the string instrument, not looking back since. She trained under musical greats including R.R. Keshavamurthy and V.S. Narasimhan, making her professional debut at the age of nine.
Jyotsna went on to begin a successful career lending her talent to the film industry, playing on over two hundred South Indian cinematic soundtracks. Upon moving to London her work expanded to include television and festival engagements including work for the Discovery Channel, National Geographic, WOMAD, BBC Proms and the Red Violin Festival. She also lectures in music, having delivered her discourse at the University of Cambridge and Liverpool University.
Currently Jyotsna enjoys a demanding career as an eminent solo musician. Her 2013 album Call of Bangalore (Riverboat Records) cemented her position as a ‘major instrumentalist of vision and imagination’ (fRoots) and ‘an extraordinary and versatile violinist’ (The Guardian).
2014 sees the release of Bangalore Dreams (United Sound). Bangalore Dreams is Jyotsna’s meditation on a theme of encounters; east meets west, ornamentation meets groove, India meets jazz. Her violin sings out vivid melodies and redolent ragas of her beloved Bangalore, twisted through with a strong jazz flavour.
2016 saw the release of Carnatic Connection, an exotic collaboration with the 11 member Bollywood Brass Band.
In her career spanning 25 years Jyotsna has performed in all the major world music festivals across Europe. Below are some noteworthy places of Jyotsna’s concert appearances
- Warsaw World Music Festival, Warsaw, Poland
- Bangalore International Arts Festival, Bangalore
- Colston Hall foyer, Bristol, UK
- International Contemporary Music Festival, Kaunas, Lithuania with the VMU CHAMBER
- Cafe Budapest Contemporary Arts Festival, Budapest, Hungary Edinburgh Fringe Festival,
- Almeria Festival, Spain
- 5 continents Festival, Martigny, Switzerland
- Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK
- London Fiddle Convention, London
- University of Glasgow, Scotland,
- Sage Gateshead, New Castle, UK
- Brighton Festival, Brighton, UK
- Spitalfields Music Festival, London
- Akbank, Istanbul, Turkey
- ‘The Streets’, a project by the London Jazz Festival in London
- King’s Place, London
- Purcell Room, South Bank Centre, London
- Barbican, London
- St Georges, Bristol, UK
- Darbar Festival, Southbank Centre, London
- Copenhagen World Music Festival, Copenhagen, Denmark
- Blue Lamp Jazz at Aberdeen, Scotland
- Celtic Connections, Glasgow, Scotland
- Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland
- Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Scotland
- Acusticum, Pitea, Sweden
- Stallet, Stockholm
- Brunei Gallery, SOAS, University of London, London
- Espacio Rondo in Madrid Spain
- Museum Fundação Oriente, Lisbon
Accolades and Awards
- 2014 – Winner of the Ganakalashree Award, Bijapur, India.
- 2014 – Winner of the Chanakya Award from PRCI, Public Relations Council of India
***** 5 stars
Broadway Baby, Edinburgh Fringe Festival
‘..Jyotsna Srikanth is an extraordinary and versatile violinist… free-flowing, often mesmerising’
“…full of delicate ornamentation”
The Evening Standard
“…Britain’s finest violinist of Indian classical music”
“…An immense musical talent and intelligence”
“…Arguably the only name that springs to music collaborators while seeking artistes across the Indian classical, jazz and world music”
“…the amazing Jyotsna Srikanth on violin.”
Independent, BBC Proms Concert