It was two years ago, on this day, that the world of music lost a legendary singer, simply known as MS. In a career spanning more than six decades, Subbulakshmi accomplished more than anyone else in her generation to enrich and popularise India’s musical tradition. She was perhaps the only Carnatic singer who was widely liked and admired in northern India, where mostly Hindustani music, displaying Arabic and Iranian influences, is practised. She introduced the rhythms and richness of Carnatic music to the west through her concerts at the Edinburgh Festival (1963), the UN (1966) and the Festival of India in London in 1982.
Both as a performer and a public figure, she represented the best in traditional and modern Indian values – grace, humility and humanity. Her silk saris, the way she put flowers in her hair, her turmeric-washed face and the serenity she exuded during her concerts all pointed to a person of rare dignity. Her innate belief in God and musical search for the spiritual was equalled by her inspiring commitment to her art.
Indeed, we miss the great soul.
MS: Music Sublime As I sang, tears rolled down her eyes…