MS Subbulakshmi Biography
MS Subbulakshmi was born on 16 September 1916 in Madurai, Madras Presidency, India. Her father’s name was Subramanja Iyer, and her mother was Shanmukavadiver Ammal. Shanmukavadiver Ammai belonged to the Devadasi community and was a stage performer. The famous violinist Akkammai was her grandmother. The house of MS Subbulakshmi was the place for cultural and musical activities. At a very early age, she was influenced by the atmosphere of her family and the arrival of noted musicians. Her parents also encouraged her to learn classical music. At a very early age, she started learning Carnatic music under the guidance of Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer. In the meantime, she also learnt Hindustani Music at Pandit Narayan Rao Vyas.
She had a God-gifted base voice, so her singing voice mesmerized the audience. The singer enriches learning classical music skills by interacting with eminent Classical masters like Karaikudi Sambasiva Iyer, Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar and Mazhavarayanendal Subbaramana Bhagavathar.
MS Subbulakshmi Songs and Movie Characters
After she became a profound learner of Karnatic and Hindustani music, she gave her first public performance at Rockford Temple, Tiruchirappalli, in 1927 at the age of eleven. The first performance with eminent other musicians became a milestone in her life. Her fearless performance made her a symbol of classical music in later years. MS Subbulakshmi also acted in many films in her youth, the first film was Sevasadanam, released on 2 May 1938, and a few movies got commercial successes. Especially the male character of Narada in the film Savitri made her a successful singer and actress.
MS Subbulakshmi’s Performance in Foreign Countries
First time in 1963, the Scotland Government invited her to participate in the famous Edinburgh International Festival for her magnificent performance. Later, she visited many countries as an ambassador of Indian Culture and Heritage. The success of the Scotland performance caused invitations from various societies worldwide. Her performance in the UK was a milestone in her life. Especially performance at Carnegie Hall in New York made her an international music ambassador. The Government of Russia also invited her to perform at the Festival of India, held in Moscow, to show the brotherhood relationship between India and Russia. She served in numerous countries all over India, and wherever she went there, she was praised by spectators and music lovers.
MS Subbulakshmi Devotional Songs
She sang the famous ‘Suprabhatam’, the early morning Hymn, to wake up Lord Venkateswara. Still, Suprabhatam plays in every household in India, which makes a piece of mind to the listeners. She also sang ‘Bhajagovindam’ composed by the famous philosopher Shankaracharya, praising Lord Krishna. ‘Hanuman Chalisa’, ‘Vishnu Sahasranamam’ and many other Hymns honouring the Gods and Goddesses in Hindu history. Her Carnatic Classical music skills quickly brought the hymns to life. Her flawless singing and clarity in the tone made the themes of the ‘God’ praising songs compassion a way to melt the hearts of the devotees and music lovers. So her songs, hymns and Slokas became eternal by touching the tone of M.S. Subbulakshmi.
MS Subbulakshmi’s Personal Life
In her early life, she had a close attachment to her mother, Shanmukavadiver Ammai. But when she was a teenager, she left her mother to marry the man she wished for. So in 1936, she met the famous classical musician Sadasivam, who helped her to become a renowned personality in Indian history. He introduced her to the movies and supported her in giving classical performances on various platforms, which made her famous in society. So M.S Subbulakshmi married Sadasivam in 1940. Although, Sadasivam already had four children from his first wife. However, M.S. Subbulakshmi treated them as her children and shared the affection of the children as her mother. Such a great personality died on 11 December 2004 in Chennai. Thousands of music lovers, political leaders and ordinary men also paid their homage.
MS Subbulakshmi Awards
Padma Bhushan in 1954
Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1956
Sangeetha Kalanidhi in 1968
Ramon Magsaysay award (often considered Asia’s Nobel Prize) in 1974
Padma Vibhushan in 1975
Sangeetha Kalasikhamani in 1975 by The Indian Fine Arts Society, Chennai
Kalidas Samman in 1988
Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration in 1990
Bharat Ratna in 1998