Madurai Shanmukhavadivu Subbulakshmi, popularly known as M.S. or M.S.S.) (September 16, 1916 - December 11, 2004) was a renowned Carnatic vocalist. She was the first musician ever to be awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honor.
M.S.Subbulakhsmi was born on 16 Sep,1916 in a musical family, in the temple town of Madurai situated in the state of Tamil Nadu in South India. M.S. started learning Carnatic music from a very early age and released her first recording at the age of 10. She then began her Carnatic classical music training under Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer and then Hindustani classical training under Pandit Narayan Rao Vyas. Her first public performance was during the Mahamaham festival at Kumbakonam. Then, she performed countless musical forms in different languages such as Hindi, Bengali , Gujarati , Marathi, Tamil , Malayalam, Telugu , Sanskrit and Kannada.
M.S. met T.Sadasivam|Sadasivam, a freedom fighter, and a follower of Rajaji, in 1936. She married him in 1940 and their marriage spanned over 50 years. They had no children. Sadasivam had children from his previous marriage that M.S. treated as if they were her own children. They were named Radha, Vijaya. M.S and Sadasivam also raised Radha who frequently sang with M.S. in concert while Vijaya played the Tanpura.
Subbulakshmi had participated in music concerts all over the world,but her participation in the concerts at New York in 1970,London in 1982 and Moscow in 1987 had a special significance in her life.17 January,2001 was a very important day in karnatak classical music when M.S.Subbulakshmi was given a national award by Ramaseva Mandal in bangaluru.She was the first woman who recived this prestigious award
While Lata Mangeshkar called her Tapaswini (the Renunciate), Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan termed her Suswaralakshmi (the goddess of musical notes), and Kishori Amonkar labeled her the ultimate eighth note or Aathuvaan Sur, which is above the seven notes basic to all music. Her many famous renditions of bhajans include the chanting of Bhaja Govindam, Vishnu sahasranama (1000 names of Vishnu) and the Venkateswara Suprabhatam (musical hymns to awaken Lord Balaji early in the morning).
An EMI record of MS SubbulakshmiShe was widely honored, praised and awarded. Some of them 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 in 1974, the Padma Vibhushan in 1975, the Kalidas Samman in 1988, the Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration in 1990, and the Bharat Ratna in 1998. She was also honored as the court-singer of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams.
Although she was bestowed with enormous prize moneys on these awards, she donated most of them to charity.
She was awarded Honorary Doctorate degrees from several Universities.
She was an ardent devotee of Kanchi Mahaswamigal and she rendered his composition Maithreem Bhajatha (O World! Cultivate peace) in her concert at the UN in 1966. She donated many of the royalties on several best sold records to many charity organizations.
With the death of her husband Sadasivam in 1997, she stopped all her public performances. M.S.Subbulakshmi died on December 11, 2004 after a brief illness, due to complications relating to pneumonia and cardiac irregularities.
In essence, she lived a life as the symbol of humility and is forever a legend.
She was a well known in the field of classical music especially for her singing of carnatak classical songs.17 january was a very important day in the carnatak classical music when subbulakshmi was given a national award by ramaseva mandal in bangalore.She is the first woman who received this prestigious award.Her mother was a well known veena player.Her mother played a great role in motivating subbulakshmi to learn music.She taught subbulakshmi classical music from early childhood.Gradually her mother encouraged subbulakshmi to perform in her own.Later subbulakshmi got her first trainig in the carnatak classical music from srinivas iyer and hindustani classical music from pandit narayanan rao vyas.Subbulakshmi recorded her first music album at the age of 10.from then she started singing on the stage.She won the hearts of people with her melodious singing.