On her birthday: Remembering carnatic music rockstar MS Subbulakshmi

MS Subbulaxmi

Music was her life. She held global audiences in rapt. MS Subbulakshmi was not just a carnatic music legend but someone who championed music as an artform for change. She grew up in a home full of music, from her violinist grandmother to her veena playing mother, Shanmukhavadivu Ammal. She gave her first performance at the age of 11. Jawahar Lal Nehru famously said about Subbulakshmi, “Who am I a mere Prime Minister before a Queen, a Queen of Music?”

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  1. Most of us know her as MS Subbulakshmi but her full name is Madurai Shanmukhavadivu Subbulakshmi.
  2. She had no formal training in childhood, in fact in was her mother Shanmugavadivu who gave her the initial and the most valuable lessons of Carnatic Music .
  3. She was barely 10 years when her first recording was realesed.
  4. MS was not only a musical legend but she also acted on screen in some Tamil films. Her first movie ‘Sevasadanam’ was released in 1938.
  5. In the year 1941 no female had ever played the role of a male character but in order to raise funds for Kalki, her husband’s nationalist Tamil weekly, MS Subbulakshmi essayed the male role of Narada in ‘Savitri’.
  6. The esteemed Madras Music Academy which is particularly famed for its critical selection process broke all its rules when it invited a girl of 13 to perform on it stage. This girl was none other than Ms Subbulakshmi.
  7. A first of its kind on December 18, 2005, a commemorative postage stamp was issued in her honour.

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Feature Image Credit: YouTube.com

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