Seetha Doraiswamy

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Seetha Doraiswamy

Born: 27 January 1926

Died: 14 March 2013

  • She commonly known as Madisaar Maami, was a renowned Carnatic multi-instrumentalist.
  • She was the last recognized female exponent of a dying Indian instrument, the Jal Tarang.
  • She was the first (and till date youngest) female musician ever to be awarded the Gold Medal of Honour from The Music Academy, the first Carnatic music Institute.
  • She is the only Jal Tarang exponent to have ever received the Kalaimamani award, India’s fourth-highest civilian award, in 2001 with the citation reading “(Seetha) has tirelessly worked to prevent the jalatharangam from becoming extinct and is often recognized only for that; it is time to bring to notice the fact that she championed for the cause of equal female representation during a time where our cultural norms may have not.
  • Additionally, her theoretical knowledge was the foundation for many of the modern concepts of Carnatic music as we know it today.”
  • Although her training began at a young age, familial obligations prevented her from performing.
  • She was married at age 14 to N. Doraiswamy and gave birth to 10 children.
  • The death of a prodigious son left her shattered, and it was under the encouragement of her family that she began to perform again at the age of 41.
  • Citing this particular circumstance, she is often referred to and has received awards as a pioneer female Indian musician for having been one of the few who performed despite the social connotations that prevented her colleagues from doing so.

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