As we approach the M.S.Subbulakshmi tribute concert this weekend, I wanted to share an article on this wonderful artist written by none other than my own mother, in 1978, when she visited Chicago of all places. As I read it, I try to center myself enough to do justice to who she was through the songs I will attempt to sing this weekend. When initially asked to do this concert, my response was “No”. I was consumed by worry about my inability to emulate her, having practically no experience with Tamil or Carnatic music. However, when reminded of how she would sing songs in other languages with pure devotion, and without worry about technicalities, it seemed the most fitting tribute to participate. Her pronunciation when singing Hindi songs may not have been correct, but her feeling was undeniably true. So I will not aim for correctness or imitation in delivering the music made most famous by her. Rather, I hope the interpretation to be true.
My favorite line: “In her, you can see how the paradox of losing yourself to find yourself can become a reality.”