Posted by: Satheesh Kumar Muthu | January 26, 2009

M.S.SUBBALAKSHMI-The Nightingale.

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M. S. Subbalakshmi, Madurai Shanmukhavadivu Subbulakshmi, was one of the most popular as well as most admired vocalists in the field of Carnatic music. This flawless singer whose voice had a divine power is the first singer in India to be presented with the Bharat Ratna, the highest award given to any civilian and also the first woman recipient of the title ‘Sangeetha Kalanidhi’.
M S Subbulakshmi was born on 16th September 1916, in the Madurai city of Tamil Nadu. Since she was born into a musical family, Subbulakshmi developed an interest in music from a very tender age only. Her first recording was released when she was only ten years old. M S Subbalakshmi received her formal training in Carnatic classical music from Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer and Hindustani classical music from Pandit Narayan Rao Vyas. She gave her first public performance at Kumbakonam, during the Mahamaham festival.

Subbulakshmi made her debut at the Madras Music Academy when she was only seventeen years old. Then onwards started her journey as one of the most successful singers of the country. She performed in numerous languages, including Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, Sanskrit and Kannada. M S Subbalakshmi also entered the field of acting and performed in a number of movies. People still remember her for the role of Bhakta Meera in the movie ‘Meera’. However, after the movie, Subbulakshmi quit acting and concentrated fully on concert music.

M S Subbulakshmi married Sadasivam, a freedom fighter, in the year 1940. The couple did not have their own children. However, Subbulakshmi gave all her motherly love to Sadasivam’s children from his previous marriage. Subbulakshmi became India’s cultural ambassador and traveled to places like London, New York, Canada, the Far East, etc. Some of her most noteworthy concerts outside India took place at UN General Assembly (1966), Royal Albert Hall of London (1982) and ‘Festival of India’ in Moscow (1987).

Sadasivam left for the holy abode in 1997 and after his death, M S Subbulakshmi stopped giving public performances. The great singer suffered serious illness in the last days of her life. She passed away on 11th December 2004, after experiencing major complications connected with pneumonia and cardiac abnormalities.
Honors and Awards :
Padma Bhushan Award ( 1954 )
Sangeetha Kalanidhi Award ( 1968 )
Ramon Magsaysay Award ( 1974 )
Padma Vibhushan Award ( 1975 )
Kalidasa Samman Award ( 1988 )
Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration ( 1990 )
Bharat Ratna Award ( 1998 )
Honored as the court-singer of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams

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