Madurai S Somasundaram is one of the most popular musicians from Tamilnadu. Madurai Somu, as he was affectionately known, had his early training under Sesha Bhagavatar, Abhirama Sastri and Sundaresa Bhattar. Later, he went to the great master, Chittoor Subramanyam Pillai. He gave his first public performance in 1934 at Tiruchendur. His music was highly appealing because of its rich emotional content and very soon, Somu became a household name in Tamilnadu. He popularised plenty of Tamil songs. The Annamalai University conferred upon him an honorary doctorate during its golden jubilee celebrations.
Madurai Somu was universally acknowledged as the greatest interpreter of Chitoor school of music. A great innovator, Somu, who became a legend in his lifetime, irked the die hard purists by taking liberties with form and style. It is undeniable , though, that his efforts injected vivacity into the entire tradition of Carnatic Music.
The music of Somu was possibly the best conceivable blend of technique and appeal. His voice was so unique in its expressiveness that it could afford anything from a mere quiver of resonance to a flood of melody. Added to this potential for infinite musical expression was a vivid imagination that reveled in a variety of stylizations and improvisations, all within a larger framework of the Carnatic tradition. He adopted his medium to render fluent raga alapanas, complex Pallavis,Tamil sprituals and soulful bhajans with an artistry all his own. More »
MDR was born in Manjapara, Palakkad District, Madras Province(Present Kerala) on 20 May 1923. His father Devesa Bhagavathar was a music teacher by profession. MDR did his schooling in Palakkad and graduated with a BSc degree in Physics from Victoria College, Palakkad. On completion of his studies, he travelled to Madras along with his father to improve his musical talents.
During the same time, the legendary Rukmini Devi Arundale initiated a new course on Sangeeta Siromani at Kalakshetra. MDR auditioned for the course and was the only student to be selected for the first batch commencing in 1944. Soon, MDR emerged as Tiger Varadachariar's favorite and was his closest disciple when the latter died in 1950. More »
Madurai Shanmukhavadivu Subbulakshmi 16 September 1916 – 11 December 2004), also known as M.S., was a renowned Carnatic vocalist. She was the first musician ever to be awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honor. She is the first Indian musician to receive the Ramon Magsaysay award, Asia's highest civilian award, in 1974 with the citation reading "Exacting purists acknowledge Srimati M. S. Subbulakshmi as the leading exponent of classical and semi-classical songs in the Karnataka tradition of South India.
Subbulakshmi (Kunjamma to her family) was born in Madurai, Madras Presidency, India to Veena player Shanmukavadiver Ammal and Subramania Iyer. Her grandmother Akkammal was a violinist.
She started learning Carnatic music at an early age and trained in Carnatic music under the tutelage of Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer and subsequently in Hindustani music under Pandit Narayanrao Vvas. She also learned Sanskrit and Telugu under Dr. Nedunuri Krishnamurthy. More »
Madras Lalitangi Vasanthakumari(popularly referred to as MLV) (July 3, 1928 - October 31, 1990), was a Carnatic musician and playback singer for film songs in many Indian languages. MLV and her contemporaries D. K. Pattammal and M. S. Subbulakshmi were popularly referred to as the "female trinity of Carnatic Music. A prime disciple of the G. N. Balasubramaniam, she was the youngest among the established musicians of that era, and was the youngest female awardee of the Sangita Kalanidhi award.
As well as being a much sought-after playback singer for films, MLV popularised unfamiliar ragas and her Ragam Thanam Pallavis were considered cerebral. Additionally, she popularised the compositions of Purandara Dasa (and other Dasas), and was responsible for popularizing his compositions Baarokrishnayya, Innu daya barade, among others. Her most famous disciples include Srividya (her daughter), Sudha Raghunathan, A. Kanyakumari, Charumathi Ramachandran and Meena Subramanian. More »
Musiri Subramania Iyer (April 9, 1899 - March 25, 1975) was a Carnatic vocalist who's stage performing career spanned the 1920s to the 1940s. After retirement from the stage, he remained an iconic figure in Carnatic music as a dedicated teacher and leader in the Carnatic community. His bhava-laden renditions of Carnatic songs have become the measuring stick for generations of Carnatic vocalists. Musiri Subramania Iyer is one of the giants of Carnatic music in this century.
Musiri, as he was universally known, was born in Bommalapalayam in the Trichy district of Tamil Nadu. His father, Sankara Sastry was a Sanskrit pandit. One of three siblings, he lost his mother, Seethalakshmi, as a boy and his sister Rajathi passed when she was but a child. His family was poor—in later life Musiri seldom spoke about those early years. He married Nagalakshmi when he was 14 years old. Musiri learned to fluently speak, read and write in English when he was 17. Inspired by the singing of a popular acting star of those days, S. G. Kittappa, he decided to become a musician. Like Kittappa, Musiri had a strong vocal range in the higher octaves, and could imitate the former's hit songs with ease. More »
Sangeetha Kalanidhi Maharajapuram Santhanam(December 3, 1928-June 24, 1992) was one of the great Carnatic music vocalists of the 20th century. He was born in Sirunangur, a village in the state of Tamil Nadu. He followed the footsteps of his father Maharajapuram Viswanatha Iyer who was also a Carnatic singer.
Besides studying with his father, he was also a disciple of Melattur Sama Dikshitar. Maharajapuram Santhanam was also a distinguished composer. He wrote many songs on Lord Murugan and Kanchi Shankaracharya, His Holiness Sri Chandrasekarendra Saraswati Swamigal (Maha Periyavar). He was the Principal of Ramanathan College in Sri Lanka.Later he came and settled in Chennai. The songs which were popularised by Maharajapuram Santhanam are,"Bho Shambo" (Revati), "Madhura Madhura" (Bagheshri), both composed by Swami Dayananda Saraswati, "Unnai Allal" (Kalyani Raga), "Sadha Nin Padhame gathi, Varam onnru" (Shanmukhapriya), "Srichakra Raja" (Ragamalika), "Nalinakaanthimathim" (Ragamalika),"Ksheerabdi kannike" (Ragamalika) among others. The Maharajapuram Santhanam Day is celebrated on the 3rd of December every year. More »
The Malladi Brothers, Malladi Sreeramprasad and Malladi Ravikumar, are a Carnatic music vocalist duo. They started their music education under Malladi Srirammurthy and Malladi Suri Babu, their grandfather and father respectively. Subsequently they studied under Sripada Pinakapani, Nedunuri Krishnamurthy and Voleti Venkatesvarulu. Malladi Brothers possess a large repertoire of Carnatic compositions and possess a vibrant and powerful voice. Both excel in presenting Thyagaraja kritis.They traveled extensively in India and abroad. More »
Smt. Mathangi Satyamoorthy has inherited her flair of music from her mother Santha Subramoniam, which was later refurbished by the stringent training she got during her childhood days at Tiruvanaikoil ( Tamil Nadu), from Sri K.S Subramoniam, of the Chembai fold. An ardent devotee of Lord Ganesh, she spend her leisurely hours in teaching young aspirants of the carnatic music in the traditional style. For Carnatic music to her is tantamount to worship of the Almighty. Mathangi took her B.A Degree in English literature. She is an ‘A’ Grade AIR Trivandrum. Mathangi satyamoorthy, the veteran musician is a strict follower of the traditional style of Carnatic music, at the same time she is an innovator as well.She had her training in carnatic music under Sri K.S. Subramoniam of the Chembai family of Tiruvanaicoil for long 10 years. More »