Classical singer Smt. MS Subbalakshmi (MSS) Rare Photos. Madurai Shanmukhavadivu Subbulakshmi is called or known as MS Subbalakshmi (MSS). She born on September 16, 1916 in Madurai, Madras Presidency, India. She is a Tamilian. She was a renowned Carnatic vocalist.

Classical singer Smt. MS Subbalakshmi (MSS) Rare Photos

MSS was the first woman musician who received the coveted Sangita Kalanidhi title (1968) awarded by a panel of classical music practitioner-experts from the Music Academy, Chennai, India, Carnatic music’s mecca.  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.

MSS gave her first public performance in 1929 when she was 13 years old at the prestigious Madras Music Academy.  In 1936 MSS moved to Madras (Present it’s Chennai). She also made her film debut in Sevasadan in 1938

Indian Hindus all over the world begin their mornings with MSS’s recital of the Sri Venkatesa Suprabhatam—the hymns chanted at dawn to wake Balaji, the deity at the holy sanctum of Tirupati–and her rendition of the Vishnu Sahasranamam. Her singing voice was recognized as a treasure by luminaries such as Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Sarojini Naidu, even as she gave freely of it to serve the nationalist cause

MSS traveled to London, New York, Canada, the Far East, and other places as India’s cultural ambassador. Her concerts at:

  • Edinburgh International Festival of Music and Drama in 1963
  • Carnegie Hall, New York; the UN General Assembly on UN day in 1966
  • Royal Albert Hall, London in 1982
  • Festivals of India in Moscow in 1987 were significant landmarks in her career.

In 1969 she was accompanied by Indian Railways Advisor SN Venkata Rao to Rameshwaram, where she famously sang several songs in front of each idol in the Rameshwaram temple.

After the death of her husband Kalki Sadasivam in 1997, she stopped all her public performances.

She died on December 11, 2004 (aged 88), Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.  While it would be difficult to emulate the perfection of MSS’s music and life, my aim of this article is to cherish and honor her memory.

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