MS  -   A Life in Music

MS - A Life in Music

Product ID: 28470

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Author: T J S George
Publisher: HarperCollins
Year: 2007
Language: English
Pages: 303
ISBN/UPC (if available): 9788172237080


For MS Music was a therapy of the soul. In music, she found strength, solace and stimulation. By giving her music everything she had, she received in return a blissfulness nothing else could give her.

To know how music transcends all barriers, all one has to do is to listen to M.S. Subbulakshmi sing. Her mellifluous voice, her phenomenal range, her command over the nuances of classical music, her exquisite diction and above all, her emotional and aesthetic appeal have held audiences worldwide spellbound.

Her long and fascinating odyssey began in the South Indian temple town of Madurai and took her to various places including Madras, New York and London. Her music has attained universal dimensions.

She has achieved icon status in the pantheon of Indian classical music, especially on the basis of her concerts for charitable causes.

If her repertoire is legendary, so is her humility, despite having won the Magsaysay Award (1974) and the Bharat Ratna (1998).
This authoritative biography unravels the saga of one of India's most revered and respected musicians, whose name has became synonymous with Bhakti (devotion).

While narrating the fascinating story of MS, the author brings into sharp focus on entire gamut of related events, both historical and contemporary.

For instance: how the arts in general and Carnatic music in particular developed over the centuries; the significance of the radio and gramophone records in shaping the careers of several musicians; the role of Tamil cinema in popularizing classical music; the impact of the freedom struggle and subsequent independence on MS' career and profession; the role of her husband (T. Sadasivam) in deciding her life pattern; the interaction between Ms and the North Indian ustads; and the current trends in 'experimental' music and their possible detrimental effect on the purity of Carnatic music.


The real substance of the book is in being able to clearly indicate how the strongly male, patriarchal and feudal domain of Carnatic music was invaded by MS…an important addition to musical history of our times.
--- India Today

The book is an interesting and conscientious effort to unfold the saga of an achiever nonpareil, an outstanding human being…an artiste with a unique musical idiom and one who did not recognise any other jurisdiction than that of her muse.
--- The Hindu

Not a biography in the conventional sense…more a scholarly, research-based study of the social mores and cultural traditions that formed the matrix for MS' life and times.
--- Deccan Herald

Perhaps one of the first comprehensive books on the most melodious Indian voices ever. George is a wonderful writer who manages to hold the reader's attention.
--- Business Standard

George tells the story [of MS] as any professional journalist-writer would. Backed by in - depth research and information culled from dozens of interviews.


Endaro Mahaanubhaavulu 9
1. M for history, S for art 13
2. Innovations and Idiosyncrasies 35
3. Saraswati's daughters 57
4. Family, caste and gender 77
5. The man in her life 99
6. Into film land 117
7. The comfort of conformism 143
8. Out of film land 161
9. Suswaralakshmi Subbulakshmi 181
10. Bhakti as ideology 201
11. The garden party years