Shruthi UK celebrates birth centenary of Queen of Carnatic Music

Dr Chithra Ramakrishnan FRSA, centre, with accomplished Carnatic musicians and vocalists

A rare concert held in Birmingham last night to mark the birth centenary of one of India’s pioneering vocalists won rapturous applause from guests.

Glowing tributes were paid to Dr MS Subbulakshmi, also known as the Queen of Carnatic music. Carnatic music is a system of classical music associated with the southern part of the Indian subcontinent.

Dr MS Subbulakshmi was the first musician of Indian origin ever to be awarded the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour, by its government. India’s first Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, had said of Dr Subbulakshmi:

“Who am I, a mere Prime Minister before a Queen, a Queen of Music.”

The event, themed, ‘a musical tribute to the queen of Carnatic music’ was organised by Shruthi UK, the Midland-based South Asian arts and culture organisation, in partnership with East End Foods PLC, the Asian foods giant.

Dr Chithra Ramakrishnan FRSA, founder and artistic director of Shruthi UK, said:

“I feel humbled and privileged to have organised this unique celebration which would not have been possible without the support of so many dedicated volunteers and organisations. This event, I feel, provided a platform to share our history and rich south Indian cultural heritage with people from all walks of life.”

The event coincided with the culmination of Navaratri, the nine-night Hindu folk dance festival which is celebrated all over the world. Attended by around 100 representatives from public and private sector organisations, the event featured speeches, thematic presentations, a stage performance and light refreshments.

Welcoming guests, Dr Tony Deep Wouhra MBE DL, Chairman of East End Foods PLC, said:

“It gives us great pleasure in supporting such events that celebrate the rich cultural heritage of our ancestral roots. India has a firm place on the world map for many reasons, arts and culture of course being one of these. Well done to Dr Chithra Ramakrishnan and her team at Shruthi UK for organising such a glorious event and continuing to fly the flag for a multicultural and inclusive Great Britain.”


Paul Sabapathy CBE, Professor A R Gatrad OBE, Dr Chithra Ramakrishnan FRSA, High Sheriff of West Midlands Dr Keith Bradshaw DL, Mr Ramakrishnan Subramanian
Paul Sabapathy CBE, Professor A R Gatrad OBE, Dr Chithra Ramakrishnan FRSA, High Sheriff of West Midlands Dr Keith Bradshaw DL, Mr Ramakrishnan Subramanian


A special souvenir to mark the occasion was also officially unveiled at this event. Among the goodwill messages, one from MP Virendra Sharma read: “Shruthi UK have done a fantastic job in organising such an important and entertaining event. The Nightingale of India would be proud of the work and effort that has been put into this celebration of her work.”

The guests of honour were Dr S Rajah and Dr Jega Rajah from the Shri Venkateswara Balaji Temple, the largest temple of its kind in Europe. They were joined by the High Sheriff of West Midlands Dr Keith Bradshaw, DL and former Lord-Lieutenant of the West Midlands Paul Sabapathy MBE, as well as many others.

Throughout the year, Shruthi UK, along with its sister organisation, the British Carnatic Choir, run a series of tailored music-related workshops, as well as events. These include the Thyagaraja Festival, along with International Women’s Day.

The British Carnatic Choir, or BCC, which marked its first anniversary in June this year, aims to identify and recognise people, particularly children and youth, of all abilities and from all walks of life who share a common passion to create a British Carnatic Community, one which reflects the multicultural mosaic of Great Britain.

It aims to complement British values in an attempt to encourage all citizens to respect each other’s way of life and to celebrate good work, through the sounds, words and pictures of the British Carnatic Choir.

Last year, Shruthi UK organised a free Bharatnatyam dance workshop in support of World Autism Awareness Day and continues to work with Special Schools across the Midlands. To listen to podcasts and to find out more about Shruthi UK and BCC, visit and

The second annual concert of the British Carnatic Choir will take place in Birmingham on Saturday, 26th November 2016. Tickets for this popular event are available from the website of BCC.



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