As India celebrated its 70th Independence Day, Oscar winning, Chennai-based composer A R Rahman paid tributes to legendary singer M S Subbulakshmi at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Her birth centenary is being marked this year.
Rahman’s concert took place 50 years after M S Subbulakshmi performed at the UN in 1966, invited there by then Secretary-General U Thant.
“It feels really, really good. I think 1966 was just one year before I was born. It’s been 50 years. So, ( it was ) coming back in a special way to celebrate one of my city’s icons, one of India’s icons – MS Subbulakshmiji,” Rahman said.
The almost three-hour concert included some of M S Subbulakshmi’s Carnatic favourites, Sufi numbers and songs like Dil Se Re, Kun Faya Kun and Vande Mataram.
The concert was brought to a close with Rahman’s Oscar-winning Jai Ho. Rahman was also joined by his two sisters, singer Javed Ali and renowned percussionist Sivamani on stage.
Rahman’s backing band was the Sunshine Orchestra, formed by underprivileged children trained in classical music. “From today, you are privileged, you are not underprivileged anymore,” Rahman told the performers ahead of the show.
“Music has given me everything, this is a small thing in return,” said the double Oscar-winner about his special backup.
It was organised by India’s Permanent Mission to the UN in association with Sankara Nethralaya, a non-profit medical institution. – CINEWS