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M. S. Subbulakshmi




Madurai Shanmukhavadivu Subbulakshmi (Madhurai 16 September 1916 – 11 December 2004), also known as M.S., 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.

Background information
Born September 16, 1916
Madurai, Madras Presidency, India
Origin India
Died December 11, 2004 (aged 88)
Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Genres Indian classical music
Occupations Classical Vocalist
Years active 1930–2004
Labels HMV

Subbulakshmi (Kunjamma to her family) was born in Madurai, Madras Presidency, 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.

Films
M.S. also acted in a few Tamil films in her youth. Her first movie Sevasadanam was released in 1938. MS Subbulakshmi also played the male role of Narada in "Savitri" (1941) to raise money for launching Kalki, her husband's nationalist Tamil weekly. Her title role of the Rajasthani saint-poetess Meera in the eponymous 1945 film gave her national prominence. This movie was re-made in Hindi in 1947. The movie had M.S Subbulakshmi. sing the famous Meera bhajans, with Dilipkumar Roy as the music director. Later, she quit films and turned wholly to concert music.

Awards and honours

Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru had this to say about M.S. Subbulakshmi- "Who am I, a mere Prime Minister before a Queen, a Queen of Music". While Lata Mangeshkar called her Tapaswini (the Renunciate), Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan termed her Suswaralakshmi (the goddess of the perfect note), and Kishori Amonkar labeled her the ultimate eighth note or Aathuvaan Sur, which is above the seven notes basic to all music. The great national leader and poet Sarojini Naidu called her "Nightingale of India". Her many famous renditions of bhajans include the chanting of Bhaja Govindam, Vishnu sahasranama (1000 names of Vishnu), Hari Tuma Haro and the Venkateswara Suprabhatam (musical hymns to awaken Lord Balaji early in the morning).

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
Padma Vibhushan in 1975
Kalidas Samman in 1988
Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration in 1990
Bharat Ratna in 1998.

for more information
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M._S._Subbulakshmi