the greatest Carnatic vocalist ever, M S Subbulakshmi is an
artist without peer.
Born on September 16th, 1916, Madhurai Shanmugavadivu
Subbulakshmi ('MS' to all her fans) was introduced to music
through her mother Shanmukhavadivu's rehearsals on the
Veena (A stringed musical instrument that is plucked).
Her first guru for vocal music training was Madurai
Srinivasa Iyengar. She cut her first 78 rpm disc at ten.
She also trained under Musiri Subramanya Iyer and
Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer.
At 17, she broke the myth, that women could not be
considered serious musicians, with her performance at the
Music Academy, Chennai. With her marriage to T Sadasivam in
1940, her career received that all-important direction.
Sadasivam is credited with taking the genius of MS, to the
world, with phenomenal results.
From 1938 to 1945 MS starred in four unforgettable films -
Sevasadanam, Sakunthalai, Savithri and Meera.
MS has played the role of Carnatic Music ambassador to the
world through her several concerts (notable among them
being that at the Edinburgh festival, the United Nations
and at Carnegie Hall).
Besides the Bharat Ratna, MS has also received the Padma
Bhushan, the Magsaysay award, the Padma Vibhushan, the
Spirit of Freedom award and the Indira award for National
Integration. Her Concerts and Recordings have raised over
three crore rupees for charity.
In the spiritual content of her art and the radiance of her
personality, MS Subbulakshmi will always stand apart.