Sep 16, 2011 at 12:48pm IST

'MS Subbulakshmi's music is relevant even today'

New Delhi: Unquestionably one of the greatest exponents of Carnatic music, MS Subbulakshmi, or 'MS' to her fans, is an icon even to a younger generation brought up on fusion and rock music, the organiser of a music festival to mark the singer’s 95th birth anniversary said on Friday.

'Madura Geetham' is being held for the fourth consecutive year to mark the birth anniversary of legendary singer MS, the first musician ever to be awarded the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour.

MS was also the first Indian musician to receive the Ramon Magsaysay award, Asia's highest civilian award, in 1974. Former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru once said of MS "Who am I, a mere Prime Minister before a queen, a queen of music."

'MS Subbulakshmi's music is relevant even today'

On her 95th birth anniversary, MS Subbulakshmi, or 'MS' to her fans, is an icon even to a younger generation.

"Classical music has its own spirit and keeps evolving taking its own shape and colour," Arvind Kumar Sankar, Convenor, INTACH of the Madurai chapter told IBNLive in a phone interview.

"Did you know, MS played the piano and had a piano in her house? There is so much we are learning about MS every day," Sankar said.

As part of the 'Madura Geetham', singers and musicians from four southern states are converging in the temple town to pay musical tribute to the legendary Carnatic singer, as part of the fourth edition of the music festival that started in 2008.

Shankar is confident that Indian classical music is constantly evolving and will not lose its relevance in the time of pop and rock fusions.

Children paid a musical homage to MS at her ancestral home on Hanumantharayar Koil Street on Friday, September 16, singing some of her well known songs, Sankr said.

On September 18, a nine-member all-women team of prominent singers from Kochi, Trichur, Bangalore and Hyderabad will sing popular melodies of MS.

Subbulakshmi's first recording was released at the age of 10 and made her first public performance at the age of 16. The singer who trained under her mother was an expert in devotional musical forms in different languages including Tamil, Kannada, Sanskrit and Malayalam.

She held concerts at Carnegie Hall, New York and the UN General Assembly on UN day in 1966 and was a recipient of the Padma Bhushan in 1954, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1956, Sangeetha Kalanidhi in 1968.

The Madura concert is a tribute to the melody queen through evergreen, all time favourite songs popularised by her in concerts and films. Traditional and trendy, this music show is a first time experiment by Utsav Music to relive the magic of MS SubuLakshmi.

It is a Carnatic unplugged concert, a bouquet of songs of MS with all genres of songs sung by her. This music celebration is a contemporary approach to classical music, conceived and produced by Sri Churchill Pandian of Utsav Music.

Utsav Music, in association with Krishna Gana Sabha, will stage Geetham Madhuram music tribute on September 16 at Krishna Gana Sabha main hall at 6:30 pm.

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