Music museum in Bengaluru to get tambura, sari of Subbulakshmi

Memorabilia: Tamburas used by Carnatic vocalist M.S. Subbulakshmi

Memorabilia: Tamburas used by Carnatic vocalist M.S. Subbulakshmi   | Photo Credit: Bhagya Prakash K

Grandson to also donate letter she got from Gandhiji to Centre for Indian Music Experience

On the Republic Day, the Centre for Indian Music Experience (IME) will receive three new memorabilia that will resonate with music lovers and admirers of Carnatic singer M.S. Subbulakshmi. Her grandson V. Shrinivasan will be handing over a sari and tambura that belonged to Subbulakshmi, along with a special letter of appreciation she had received from Mahatma Gandhi in 1944, to IME on January 26. This will be followed by a Carnatic vocal concert by S. Aishwarya and S. Saundarya, great-granddaughters of Subbulakshmi.

On the same day, the state-of-the-art 40,000-sq. ft museum — work on which is in the last leg — will throw open some of its exhibits to the public.

“It is a beautiful moment for IME to receive these from the MS family as she is the only Carnatic musician who is a Bharat Ratna winner, and this museum is all about feeling good when you experience music,” said Suma Sudhindra, director, Outreach, IME.

IME requested for a tambura of Subbulakshmi as she was known for her pitch-perfect rendition. “Her voice merged seamlessly with the tambura and there is no better object to represent her life than this,” said Manasi Prasad, project director, IME. “And MS was also quite a fashion icon in her days and was known for her beautiful silk saris; so we are excited to display something worn by her,” she added.

Her saris were woven by weaver Kancheepuram Muthu Chettiar, who was also a great patron of music. He created for her the legendary blue colour, which came to be known as ‘MS Blue’, and also designed the rudraksha rettai peth (his signature double-line rudraksha border) for the saris.

“We will part with MS amma’s maroon sari with yellow border with a criss-cross of traditional zari weaved by Chettair in the 1950s,” said Mr. Shrinivasan.

Mahatma Gandhi’s letter to Subbulakshmi is a special memento as it bears his signature in Tamil. In the letter, the Mahatma has thanked her for her contribution towards the Kasturba Memorial Fund.

One of the galleries in the museum is the ‘Hall of Fame’ where photographs of 100 legends of Indian music are displayed along with their recordings.

“Special cases have been created to house the artefacts of five legendary Bharat Ratna musicians of our country. We have so far received memorabilia from the families of Bismillah Khan (a shehnai and a white cap) and Bhimsen Joshi (a silver paan box and a shawl). Soon, we will receive artefacts from the families of Lata Mangeshkar and Ravi Shankar,” said Ms. Prasad.

In two months

All the installations at the galleries of IME are expected to be ready in two months. “We have got hold of a rare wax cylinder phonograph, and some wonderful 100-year-old recordings from the British Library in the U.K., too, as part of our collection,” said Ms. Prasad.

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 5:37:19 PM |

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