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date: 25 January 2020

Subbulakshmi, M(adurai) S(hanmukhavadivu)locked

  • Narayana Menon

Extract

(b Madurai, Tamil Nadu, Sept 16, 1916; d Chennai, Dec 11, 2004). South Indian singer. One of the greatest singers of Karnatak music of the 20th century, she was the daughter of the ṇā player and singer Shanmukhavadivu, who was her first teacher. She subsequently studied with Semmangudi Srinvasa Iyer and K.S. Narayanaswamy. Before the age of ten she was performing at recitals given by her mother and she soon became known as a soloist, giving her first performance for The Music Academy, Madras, at the age of 17. National fame quickly followed, particularly due to her appearance in the Tamil film Meera (1944, released in Hindi in 1947), in which she played the 16th-century singer-saint Mīrabai. Her singing of Hindi bhajan attributed to Mīrabai enthused northern audiences traditionally indifferent to Karnatak musicians. She maintained her pan-Indian appeal, in part by her continuing performance of devotional songs....

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