Madurai Shanmukhavadivu Subbulakshmi life and biography

Madurai Shanmukhavadivu Subbulakshmi picture, image, poster

Madurai Shanmukhavadivu Subbulakshmi biography

Date of birth : 1916-09-16
Date of death : 2004-12-11
Birthplace : Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India
Nationality : Indian
Category : Famous Figures
Last modified : 2011-08-08
Credited as : Singer, Bharat Ratna awarded,

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Madurai Shanmukhavadivu Subbulakshmi was a renowned Carnatic vocalist. She was the first musician ever to be awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honor.

She is the first Indian musician to receive the Ramon Magsaysay award, Asia's highest civilian award, in 1974 with the citation reading "Exacting purists acknowledge Srimati M. S. Subbulakshmi as the leading exponent of classical and semi-classical songs in the Karnataka tradition of South India."

Subbulakshmi (Kunjamma to her family) was born in Madurai, Madras Presidency, British India to veena player Shanmukavadiver Ammal and Subramania Iyer. Her grandmother Akkammal was a violinist.

She started learning Carnatic music at an early age and trained in Carnatic music under the tutelage of Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer and subsequently in Hindustani music under Pandit Narayanrao Vyas. She also learned Sanskrit and Telugu under Dr. Nedunuri Krishnamurthy.

Her mother, from the devadasi community, was a music exponent and a regular stage performer, and Subbulakshmi grew up in an environment very conducive to musical learning. Her musical interests were also shaped by regular interactions with Karaikudi Sambasiva Iyer, Mazhavarayanendal Subbarama Bhavathar and Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar. Subbulakshmi gave her first public performance in 1929 when she was 13 years old at the prestigious Madras Music Academy. The performance consisted of singing bhajans (Hindu hymns). The academy was known for its discriminating selection process, and they broke tradition by inviting a young girl as a key performer. Her performance was described as spellbinding and earned her many admirers and the moniker of musical genius from critics. Soon after her debut performance Subbulakshmi became one the leading Carnatic vocalists.

She was widely honored, praised and awarded. Some of the more popular ones include Padma Bhushan in 1954, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1956, Sangeetha Kalanidhi in 1968 (literally, Treasure Chest of Music. She was the first woman recipient of the title), Ramon Magsaysay award (often considered Asia's Nobel Prize) in 1974, the Padma Vibhushan in 1975, the Kalidas Samman in 1988, the Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration in 1990, and the Bharat Ratna in 1998. She was also honored as the court-singer of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams. Tirupati Urban Development Authority (TUDA) has installed a bronze statue of M.S. Subbulakshmi at the Poornakumbham circle in the temple town. It was unveiled by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy on 28 May 2006.

The most famous Kancheepuram Saree shade known as MS Blue was created for her by the well known Congress party member and philanthropist, Sri Muthu Chettiyar when they met at the residence of Sri R. Aiyadurai and Smt. Thangam Aiyadurai at Lady Desikachari Road, Madras, who were close friends of MS and Sadasivam.

She was bestowed with enormous prize moneys with these awards, she donated most of them to charity. She has given more than 200 charity concerts and raised well over Rs. 10,000,000.

She was awarded honorary degree degrees from several Universities.

She was an ardent devotee of Kanchi Mahaswamigal and she rendered his composition Maithreem Bhajatha (O World! Cultivate peace) in her concert at the UN in 1966. She donated many of the royalties on several best sold records to many charity organizations.

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