30th July 2017.
Our first visit after breakfast was to this MS Subbulakshmi Gallery. The Gallery is inside the Sri Kanchi Mahaswami Vidya Mandir and the inside school atmosphere looked like a temple. This building was inaugurated on 04th June 2010 his holiness Shri Jayendra Saraswati Swamikal.
This Gallery is in the right side the same Gallery in the Ground and first floor. This has the portraits of Mahaswami and his wax images, photos of Sankaracharyar’s since 55 BC. An one lakhs Rudraksha lingam is kept at the Ground floor.
one lakhs Rudraksha lingam
MS SUBBULAKSHMI GALLERY
A permanent gallery was set up for the contribution she had done to the Kanchi Mutt and the Music. The Photos of M S Subbulakshmi, with institutions and great personalities, the Musical instrument in metal as gift She received and her portraits & the statue are on display. Instead of writing something I thought of reproducing the display of her life at the Gallery.
Dr Smt M.S.Subbulakshmi
The singing legend lives on
As artist extraordinaire, MS had the unique ability to transform the singing experience from mundane to the divine. A rich resonant timbre, complete sruti arrangement, correct diction and raga bhava. It was a rare combination that created the legend. Unlike today’s musicians trapped in external fineries. MS had an instinctive feel for the meaning of the text and each word so aptly selected, stood out like a gem.
Subbulakshmi or Kunjamma as she was fondly called, was the daughter of Madurai Shanmukhavadivu, a veena player, with a violinist sister, a brother who played the mridangam and the mellifluous environs of Madurai, singing came more naturally to her than talking. So her first performance came at the age of ten and music became the habit of a lifetime, as did awards and adulation.
After her marriage in 1940, her husband and freedom fighter T Sadasivam, took charge of her career. In fact, when she was conferred the Bharat Ratna in 1998, she said ‘on this occasion, I cannot, but think of loving care and guidance I received from my late husband, all through my life’
Despite her husband’s support, M S was a feminist. Having breached the bastion of male singers, She was happy to see an increasing number of women enrolling in music colleges and singing in temple festivals. In 1968 when the Music Academy honoured her with the Sangeetha Kalanidhi, she said, “In conferring this honour, the Academy has sought to honour the momanhood of this country”.
While Sitar maestro Pt Ravi Shankar popularised Hindustani classical music abroad, MS introduced Carnatic music to the west. Her biggest Contribution to Carnatic music was the revival of kritis of the 15th century composer, Annammacharya. She also acted in four films : Sevasadanam, Sakuntalai, Savitiri and Meera.
After meera, Mahatma Gandhi picked her to sing two of his favourite bhajans, ‘ vaishnava janato and Hari turn haro jan ki bhir” After the film Meera, she decided to dedicate herself to classical and devotional music. A Musician who bridged the regional gap. MS sang in ten languages, be it Marathi abhanga, Hindi bhajans, verses of Guru Nanak or Rabindra Sangeet.
MS was indeed an icon who could bring the world to its knees, her renderings moved violinist Yehudi Menuhin to tears. Ustad Bade Chulam Ali Khan called her Surswaralakshmi Subbulakshmi, while Helen Keller once said “You sing like an angel”
MS Could captivate people with an occasional lift of an eyebrow and a beatific smile meant not for the audience, but for the divine. She once said, “Indian music is oriented solely for divine communication. If I have done something in this respect, it is entirely due to the grace of the Almighty, who has chosen my humble self as a tool”.
MS is not dead. She is alive in the temples, Suprabhatham, kritis and bhajans.
She will remain in that divine Voice forever.