Of Gifted Voice: The Life And Art Of M.S. Subbulakshmi – Keshav Desiraju
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M.S. SUBBULAKSHMI’S life was one of extraordinary achievement. Although she was portrayed in many ways – as a musician who sought and achieved an all-India appeal; a philanthropist and supporter of noble causes; an icon of style; a woman of piety and devotion; and a friend and associate of the good and the great – she was first and foremost a classical vocalist of the highest rank, of unmatched gifts, who lives on in the musical history of India.
Of Gifted Voice looks at her life and times, and the great musical tradition she belonged to and to which she brought so much, against the larger backdrop of developments in the world of Carnatic music. It describes how music came to be performed in concerts; the impact the gramophone, the radio and the talkie had on music; the decline of the traditional performing families; and the appearance of women on public platforms. The book also delves into Subbulakshmi’s brush with films as well as her concert style and that of her celebrated contemporaries.
Though her story has often been told, we know little of the woman behind the image and the musician behind the public persona. Of Gifted Voice attempts, with warmth and keen-eyed perception, to understand the music, the history, the artiste and her incomparable presence.
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