The Sempiternal legacy of the ‘M S Blue’

A saintly woman with expressive kohl-rimmed eyes flaunting the red bindi and ash tikka mark on her forehead, diamond earrings and double Blue Jager nose rings, and wearing a beautiful circlet of jasmine flowers in her hair bun is a strong visual sight to behold!

Indian music is oriented solely to the end of divine communication. If I have done something in this respect, it is entirely due to the grace of the Almighty who has chosen my humble self as a tool.” – M S Subhalakshmi

The Doyenne of Carnatic chords –From a child prodigy to a movie star and then to a Carnatic icon, the famous musical cult figure Madurai Shanmukhavadivu Subhalakshmi fondly called ‘M S Amma’ by her supporters and connoisseurs intoxicated listeners for ages. The daughter of a Devadasi, the first musician to receive the Bharat Ratna, the first Indian musician to win the Ramon Magsaysay award, and the first Indian to have performed at the United Nations General Assembly in 1966, this versatile singer began her training under her mother Shanmugavadivu Ammal

The famous Sitarist, Pandit Ravi Shankar in full admiration for this epitome of Indian culture once said, “Her amazing voice had the tonal quality of a temple bell, combining deep pure emotion and technical perfection.” Many south Indian homes still wake up to the divine ‘Sri Venkateswara Suprabhatam’ recorded in her ethereal voice. Aging gracefully and glowing through her inner artistry, her music has transcended borders. 

A Salient connect to a hue – A saree with copper sulphate or Anandha Blue hue with Navy blue (Retti Pettu) border woven by her ‘rasikai’ Muthu Chettiar solely for her, was favored by the legendary Carnatic Vocalist. Eventually, the color and the dye popularly known as ‘M S Blue’ styled for the ‘Mayil Kazhuthu Kalar’ sarees redefined the aesthetics of fashion for the Carnatic musician. The palette of blue shades depicting the natural environment and sacred associations plays a seminal role in every aspect of life.    

The Silken Genius behind M S Blue – A performance in 1986, M S Amma graced her concert ‘Kutcheri’ in her signature Kanjivaram silk saree, but in a never-to-be-seen-before hue. The new color ‘Blue’ was created for the first time in India by the oldest weaving families in India called the “House of Angadi” owned by the legendary RK Raman, who set up an integrated handloom weaving facility in the early 1950s. Created at its facilities in Thirucherai, MS Amma a patron of the Angadi family products donned the ‘middle sea’ blue in all her concerts.  

The Signature Habiliments – History has always remembered clothes with a signature. Be it Mahatma Gandhi famous for his Khadi obsession, Indira Gandhi’s Handloom sarees from across the country, Sonia Gandhi’s affinity for the best Ikat sarees, Bollywood yesteryear queen Rekha’s allegiance for Red and Gold Kanjivaram, Vidya Balan’s undying interest in block-printed drapes, or M S Subhalakshmi’s blue Kanjivarams, the coveted six-yard drape has expressed itself in a million ways etching in the memory of generations.        

Paying tribute to this unsurpassed phenomenon in Carnatic music, we at Dakshinam Sarees have meticulously crafted our Kanjivarams with the iconic blue shades which was once the dream of the Saree enthusiasts.