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Parassala B Ponnammal, a legendary Carnatic musician, has died at the age of 96.

Carnatic Musican Parassala B Ponnammal was 96…get full details..

Friday, 25th June 2021

Parassala B Ponnammal, a legendary Carnatic musician and Padmashree awardee who delighted classical music enthusiasts for the previous eight decades through her spectacular concerts, died on Tuesday at her home in Valiyasala, according to family sources.

They reported she was 96 years old and had been suffering from age-related problems for some time.

Ponnammal, a doyen of Carnatic music, was a musician who defied gender preconceptions in classical music by enrolling as the first female student at the prestigious Swathi Thirunal College of Music in the 1940s.

She had received first-rank in the courses — Gana Bhushanam and Gana Praveena — before starting her profession as a music teacher at the Cottonhill Girls' School here.

Ponnammal also made history as the first woman faculty member of Swathi Thirunal College and the first woman principal of Tripunithura's renowned RLV College of Music and Fine Arts.

She was also the first woman to sing in the Navaratri Mandapa here as part of the navaratri celebrations at the Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple in 2006, breaking a centuries-old history of male dominance.

Her noteworthy vocal renditions included ‘Guruvayur Puresa Suprabhatham,' ‘Trisivapuresa Suprabhatham,' ‘Ulsava Prabhandam,' ‘Navarathri Kriti,' ‘Meenambika Sthothram,' and Irayamman Thampi compositions.

During her eight decades of musical travels, she not only conducted hundreds of concerts, but she also mentored a select group of talented performers.

Aside from the Padma Shri, Ponnammal has received other awards, including the Chennai Fine Arts Lifetime Achievement Award, Sangeetha Prabhakara Award, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, Swathi Sangeetha Puraskaram, Sree Guruvayurappan Chembai Puraskaram, and others.

D Mahadevan and D Subramanian, her sons, survive her. Her husband, Devanayakam Iyer, as well as a son and a daughter, all died before her.

Ponnammal has been a symbol of traditional tranquillity in Carnatic music, said Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who condoled her passing and praised her contributions to the world of music.

He also remembered how the great woman musician had defied tradition by performing at the Navaratri Mandapa.

The News Talkie Bureau




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