1. Smt. M.S. Subbulakshmi (Madurai Shanmukhavadivu Subbulakshmi) was a renowned Carnatic vocalist.
2. She was born as Kunjamma in the temple city of Madurai on September 16th, 1916 into a family of musicians.
3. She began her Carnatic classical music training under Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer and then Hindustani classical training under Pandit Narayan Rao Vyas and made her debut as a singer at the age of eight and went on to perform in concerts, a domain traditionally reserved for males.
4. By the age of 17, Subbulakshmi was giving concerts on her own, including major performances at the Madras Music Academy, the prestigious center for the study and promotion of Carnatic music. She was a legendary Carnatic musician and was popularly known as Nightingale of India.
5. She was the first musician ever to be awarded the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour. She is the first Indian musician to receive the Ramon Magsaysay award.
6. She also acted in a few Tamil films in her youth. Her first movie “Sevasadanam” was released in 1938. Her rendering of bhajans (devotional songs) was divine and used to enthrall and transfix listeners, and transport them into a different world.
7. MS Subbulakshmi traveled to London, New York, Canada, the Far East, and other places as India’s cultural ambassador. Her concerts at Carnegie Hall, New York; the UN General Assembly on UN day in 1966; the Royal Albert Hall, London in 1982; and at the Festival of India in Moscow in 1987 were significant landmarks in her career.
8. In 1940, she married T. Sadasivam, a freedom fighter, and a follower of Rajaji. He played a key role in advancing her career.
Awards and Honors:
- 1954: Padma Bhushan
- 1956: Sangeet Natak Acadami Award
- 1968: Sangeetha Kalanidhi
- 1974: Ramon Magsaysay award
- 1975: Padma Vibhushan and Sangeetha Kalasikhamani by The Indian Fine Arts Society, Chennai
- 1988: Kalidas Samman
- 1990: Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration in 1990
- 1998: Bharat Ratna