HOME >> ARTISTES >> M L VASANTHA KUMARI

M L VASANTHA KUMARI

Date of Birth : 07-03-1928

Awards
 
In 1976 MLV was honoured with a doctorate degree from Mysore University for her work with regards to Purandaradasa's contributions to music. MLV also received the third highest civilian honour from the
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Indian Government "Padma Bhushan". In 1977 at age 49 MLV was the youngest woman to earn the most prestigious award and title in Carnatic music Sangita Kalanidhi.

MLV was a front ranking artiste for more than 50 years. She died in 1990 at the age of 63. Beauty and sublimity were the cardinal characteristics of her music.
Biography
 
MLV was born to a musical family. Her father Kuthanur Ayya Swamy Iyer was a noted musician while her mother Lalithangi was also a great musician. When Deshbandu Chitharanjan Das (1870 -1925) died in 1925 Lalithangi came out with a beautiful song by way of tribute to his national spirit and patriotism. A rare gramophone record (made in England) of her glorious voice rendering this song is said to be
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in V.Sundaram's private possession.His coach was C.VIGNESHWARAN living in Adayar Chennai.

MLV's school education was in Madras in a convent where all was set to pursue a medical career until the great Carnatic musician G. N. Balasubramaniam came into her life. He became her guru. In her own words: My parents had rendered yeomen service to Carnatic music. They were mainly instrumental in popularising the compositions of Purandara Dasa in South India. They were not keen that I should enter the music field and gave me general education. But in the musical atmosphere of my house I had ample opportunity of practicing vocal music. Once G N Balasubramaniam heard me sing and he prevailed upon my parents to place me under his tutelage. It was he who was responsible for the status I occupy in the music world today.

Learning Carnatic music

MLV was very privilleged to learn Carnatic music from G. N. Balasubramaniam (GNB). She was also GNB's first disciple. Indira Menon said that GNB was a self-taught artiste his racy style sparkling with brigas and nuances never heard before revealed a new range of colours on the musician's palette. The brisk tempo unleashed by his powerful and pliable voice found many admirers and imitators among the younger generations though it raised many an eyebrow among the senior vidwans. Was his music according to Sampradaya (tradition) or not was the question that was frequently asked?' To answer GNB was a genius so much so that what might have seemed like a deviation from tradition was acceptable from him though it might not have been so from a lesser artiste. His charismatic personality bold innovations and technical virtuosity became an inspiration for an entire generation of musicians. After GNB speed and briga-laden music became the vogue to the extent that to be true to one's self and to sing according to one's vocal capacity required a great deal of courage.

Performing and recording career

In 1940 her mother Lalithangi gave a resplendent musical recital in Simla. MLV was then only 12 years old and made her debut by accompanying her mother. Two years later MLV gave a solo recital in Bangalore. She also cut her first 78 rpm disc which many music lovers of that period recall vividly because it created a sensation. From then on she progressed in geometrical progression as a platform artiste and by 1950 she had established herself as a front-ranker. A learned music critic has said that MLV brought the struggle of women in the world of music to a successful culmination. Her music had more male characteristics than that of any other female musician.

Her own musical style and genius

MLV imbibed much of GNB's style but did not make a fetish of speed and struck out on her own and evolved an inimitable style. Endowed with a fluid voice and rich imagination the initials MLV could be an acronym for her Melody Laya and Vidwat - the watchwords of her rare musical artistry that were an aural feast to both the lay and the cognoscenti. Her leisurely explorative and adventurous manner of handling ragas deserves special mention.[citation needed]

While MLV was known more for her cerebral style rather than her emotional style this was compensated by her rich and original manodharma. Similarly to GNB she was a genius in her tricky instantaneous brilliant manodharma. Indira Menon comments MLV did adopt her Guru's idea of a quick impressionistic sketch of the raga covering the two octaves at the start but settled down to a reposeful elaboration unfolding it gradually with her virtuosity in the form of BRIGA -CASCADES appearing only where necessary. She was careful not to carry to an excess what her versatile voice was capable of.

MLV's mastery over vocal techniques was comprehensive and complete. She could effortlessly render several difficult ragas with her alapana and kalpana swaras suitably embellished with shruthi-bheda. Her listeners had the same ecstatic experience when she sang and more particularly when in a lightning manner she shifted gracefully from the melodic world of one raga in one pitch to another raga in another pitch. In this context one has to refer to raga combinations like Shanmukhapriya-Sankarabharanam Bhairavi-Kamas Abhogi-Valaji to illustrate this point
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Nijadasavarada >>
Legends m l vasanthakumari vol 5
CARNATIC
Original
M L VASANTHA KUMARI / T M PRABHAVATHI
3.2
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Venkatachala nilayam m l vasanthakumari >>
Legends m l vasanthakumari vol 5
CARNATIC
Original
M L VASANTHA KUMARI
M N VYASA RAO
3.13
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Chinnanchirukiliye >>
Manamagal Dec, 1951
TAMIL
Original
M K THAYAGARAJABHAGAVATHAR / V N SUNDARAM / M L VASANTHA KUMARI
C R SUBBARAMAN
BHARATHIYAR
3.33
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Startcast : S V SAGASRANAMAM / PADMINI / T S BAALAYYA Director : N S KRISHNAN Copyright : Saregama
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Nanna putta samsara >>
Bidugade Dec, 1973
KANNADA
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P SUSHEELA / M L VASANTHA KUMARI
M RAMESH RAO
CHI SADASHIVIAH
3.25
Rs 7.00


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Valachi varnam >>
Legends m l vasanthakumari vol 3
CARNATIC
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M L VASANTHA KUMARI
KU RA SEETHARAM SHASTRY
3.17
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Doddavarella jaanaralla >>
Guru sishyaru Dec, 1981
KANNADA
Original
S P BALASUBRAHMANAYAM / M L VASANTHA KUMARI
K V MAHADEVAN
CHI UADAYSHANKAR / N S CHIDAMBARAM
4.25
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Visweswaru darsanakara >>
Legends m l vasanthakumari vol 5
CARNATIC
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M L VASANTHA KUMARI
G V IYER
3.13
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Aadatha manamum undo >>
Madurai veeran Dec, 1956
TAMIL
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M L VASANTHA KUMARI
G RAMANATHAN
A MARUTHA KASI / U NARAYANAKAVI
3.13
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Kannulu takani >>
Legends m l vasanthakumari vol 5
CARNATIC
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M L VASANTHA KUMARI
3.27
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Varugiraal unnithedi >>
Thanga padhumai Dec, 1958
TAMIL
Original
SOOLAMANGALAM SISTERS / M L VASANTHA KUMARI / SULAMANGALAM RAJALAKSHMI
VISWANATHAN RAMAMOORTHY
KANNA DHASAN
5.37
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