The life of Swathi Thirunal was an offering in music to God. A rare renaissance personality, Swathi Thirunal was a king among musicians and musician among kings. His musical compositions and his life were a mutual translation of his devotion to LordPadmanabha, the presiding deity of the Travancore Royal House....
Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma
was a progressive ruler who lived ahead of his times and was committed to the welfare of the people. Being an able administrator his far sighted reforms were responsible for introducing modern medicine, English education and a humane judicial system in Kerala....


Composers and Musicians

M.S. Subbalakshmi

Bharatha Rathna M.S. Subbalakshmi, popular called MS, was born in the temple town of Madurai on September 16th, 1916. Her Grandmother Akkammal was a violinist. Her father, a lawyer by profession, was a music lover. Her mother was a veena exponent.
Her first guru Madurai Srinivasa Iyengar passed away rather too soon. But she kept practicing on her own and having a musician mother helped a lot. Her first recording was at the age of ten, when she recorded a couple of songs for HMV in Madras.
She started giving concerts at a very young age, first accompanying her mother and then as a solo vocalist. In 1940 she married Sadasivam, a well known figure in the Madras Congress circle, and a protege of Rajaji. They had met four years earlier and with his wide connections in the journalistic and political world, he became instrumental in the continued success of her already flourishing career. She started acting in Films too, in 1938. Her movies were quite successful and her final movie "Meera" released both in Hindi and Tamil was a mega hit. After that she quit movies to concentrate solely on music. Her rendering of Meera Bhajans are very popular even today.The money from movies went into the magazine Kalki.
Semmangudi, Musiri, Brinda, composer Papanasam Sivan, 'bhajan' singer Sidheswari Devi of Banares taught MS new compositions and styles of singing. Kalki magazine played a big role in projecting M.S. as a saintly musician,that has endured to this day.
She has got every award a musician in India can get ... from "Isai Vani" in 1940 to Bharath Rathna in 1998. At 80, one finds her still learning, rehearsing new pieces with note books balanced on Sruthi box. That perhaps explains her phenomenal success. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India commented after listening to her singing “what am I ? A mere Prime Minister”. He was a great fan of MS and called her the nightingale of India.
MS is considered as the face and voice of the Carnatic tradition. She is perhaps the most loved respected woman in India. Many admire her for her grace, beauty and dedication to her chosen field. India wakes up to a new day listening to her rendering of the Venkitesha Suprabhatam for the last five decades or so. Lalgudi is also a good vocalist.The most significant contribution of Lalgudi to Carnatic Music is his Tillanas and Varnams.

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