M S Subbulakshmi to be honoured at UN on August 15

PTI United Nations | Updated on January 17, 2018 Published on August 09, 2016

File photo of legendary carnatic vocalist M S Subbulakshmi

A R Rahman to pay homage to the vocalist to mark the legendary singer’s birth centenary

Legendary carnatic vocalist M S Subbulakshmi will be honoured at the United Nations next week on India’s 70th Independence Day to commemorate the singer’s birth centenary. Performance by Oscar-winning composer A R Rahman at the world body’s iconic General Assembly is the highlight.

To mark Subbulakshmi’s birth centenary, a photo exhibition at the UN headquarters by India’s Permanent Mission besides the cultural extravaganza will be held here to coincide with the country’s independence day.

“Jai Ho to echo UN? AR Rahman to perform at UN in homage to MS Subbulakshmi on India’s 70th Independence Day,” India’s envoy to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin tweeted.

“Remembering a legend. Photo exhibition @UN in memory of MS Subbulakshmi August 15-19,” he said in another tweet.

Cultural extravaganza at the UN

The Indian mission is gearing up to celebrate India’s 70th Independence Day at the UN with the cultural extravaganza featuring Rahman who will become only the second Indian artist after Subbulakshmi to perform at the UN after she was invited for a performance 50 years ago.

The General Assembly hall, from where world leaders address the globe, will reverberate with Rahman’s music on the evening of August 15, paying homage to Subbulakshmi, the first musician ever to be awarded India’s highest civilian honour Bharat Ratna.

The Indian mission is organising the concert that coincides with the completion of 50 years of Subbulakshmi’s performance in the UN General Assembly hall with the support of Chennai-based Sankara Nethralaya, a not-for-profit eye institution.

Subbulakshmi was invited by the then UN Secretary General late U Thant and the then Chef de Cabinet late C V Narasimhan to perform at the world body’s headquarters in 1966.

Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar is expected to headline the Independence Day celebrations being organised at the Indian Consulate in the city.

The Consulate will host a flag-hoisting ceremony on the morning of August 15 and India’s Consul General Riva Ganguly Das will ring the closing bell at the NASDAQ stock market in Times Square later that day.

The NASDAQ has been commemorating India’s independence day for several years now by inviting the country’s ambassadors in the city to ring the closing bell. Several India Day parades will also be held across the tri-state area.

Actor Abhishek Bachchan and Yoga guru Baba Ramdev will headline the parade in Manhattan, organised on August 21 by the Federation of Indian Associations of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut and considered among the largest in the US.

The concert honouring Subbulakshmi at the UN aims to “perpetuate the memory of not only one of the greatest musicians India had ever produced but that of a greatest soul who lived a life of philanthropy and goodwill for all humanity”, Sankara Nethralaya’s Chairman Emeritus S S Badrinath said in a press release issued here.

Subbulakshmi is among the best musicians India has given to the world, Akbaruddin was quoted as saying in the release.

Sankara Nethralaya will organise a Carnatic music concert by leading Carnatic vocalist and Padma Bhushan awardee Sudha Raghunath and her troupe at the UN on October 2. It will also organise a musical concert featuring world renowned Indian-origin composer Zubin Mehta, sitar player Anoushka Shankar and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra at the famed cultural hotspot Lincoln Center in the city in November.

US-based Sankara Nethralaya Ophthalmic Mission Trust is also planning six concerts by Carnatic composer Sudha Ragunathan in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas, Chicago and Washington next month.

The trust’s president S V Acharya said in the release that it plans on creating a ‘Chair for Music’ in Subbulakshmi’s name in one of the universities in the United States.

Published on August 09, 2016
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