1) Vishnu Sahasranamam

In the interview, A daughter remembers, Radha shares, ‘It was Musiri who had advised them about the importance of ‘voice synchrony;’ he had told Radha, “Your voice should blend with MS’s and sound like a single, integrated tenor.” No wonder their Vishnu Sahasranamam recording is known for this quality! “In the line, “Amaaani Maanado Maanyo,” when MS briefly stopped to take a breath, it had to be re-recorded, but Amma insisted it be left alone. ‘Let people know that Radha sang along,’ Amma said.”’

Youtube Link to Vishnu Sahasranamam at the start of this line  

2)  Radha singing in the higher octaves in the Padam learnt from Smt T Brinda

moratopu in ragam sahana, composer : kshetrajna


3) Radha singing the Raga Alapana for Purvikalyani before the song Jnanamosagarada


4) Radha explaining Ragam Tanam Pallavi at a concert in USA in 1966 


5) Radha doing the Anulomam for the Pallavi (at the very end of the Pallavi in Ragam Bhairavi – Dharavi Dalita Kuvalaya


6) Radha leading the Bhajan Kasi Pate (when MS and Radha participated in a Bhajan Mandali at Vasant Vihar Chennai

Solo Concert by Radha Viswanathan in All India Radio 

Accompanists : Shri Kandadevi Azhagiriswamy(Violin) and Shri T K Murthy(Mridangam)

Source : sangeethapriya.org

1.Sriman Narayana in Ragam Bhouli, composer : Annamacharya, tuned by Kadayanallur Venkatraman


2. Devi Neye Thunai in Ragam Keeravani, composer : Papanasam Sivan


3. Sobillu Saptaswara in Ragam Jaganmohini, composer: Thyagaraja


4.Bhajare Re Chitha in Ragam Kalyani, composer: Dikshithar


5. Kitne Dosh bhajan in Raag Kaafi


6. Athane Paduve in Ragam Hamsanandi, composer:Purandaradasa


7. Aliveni Padam in Ragam Kurinji. composer :Svati Tirunaal


Radha, the BharataNatyam Artist

From Veejai Sai’s Tribute to Radha 

“The world of music knew Radha as MS’ daughter. She was a dancer, to begin with, a student of Vazhuvoor B Ramaiyah Pillai, Radha was his first student along with Anandhi, daughter of famous writer Kalki Krishanmurthi.
Today, the Vazhuvoor tradition is thriving and we should thank Radha for being the trigger for it. Now, it is all codified and we know the vocabulary of the dance form. She is the uncrowned queen of the Vazhuvoor tradition.”

Read about Radha-Anandhi Arangetram

As Bala Meera in the movie Meera 

  1. Song : Nandabala ;  YouTube Link (Tamil Meera Movie)
  2. Dance : Radha(Bala Meera) dancing with Kamala Lakshman – Youtube Link 
  3. Song: Asharana sharaney shyaama harey – Youtube Link 

As Bharata in the movie Sakuntalai 

Youtube Link to the Movie Sakuntalai


Excerpts from Gowri Ramnarayan’s  script for Born to Sing with links to the songs referenced

Read the full script in the book Song of SurrenderA Centenary Tribute to M S Subbulakshmi published by JustUs Repertory and the Sruti Foundation ; excerpts being shared with Gowri Ramnarayan’s permission.

Ma Ramanan – Tamil

‘MS made her film debut in Sevasadanam, 1938 one of the earliest Indian films to advocate women’s emancipation. The film had music by the venerable composer Papanasam Sivan with whom MS shared a special rapport. These songs were set in the usual devotional kriti mould to familiar ragas. They have therefore passed into the Carnatic concert repertoire. But in the context of the film, MS sang them as pleas, urging God to emancipate women, to educate women, to empower women.

Brochevarevarura – Telugu 

‘MS had the privilege of singing Brochevarevarura in Kalakshetra with the nonagenarian composer Mysore Vasudevacharya sitting before her !  And when Vasudevacharya came up leaning on Rukmini Devi’s arm to felicitate her, he began with a story: “There was a father who was so poor that his daughter had to be married in a cheap cotton sari, black beads and glass bangles. However, a few months later, the daughter comes home from her in-laws home to pay a visit. Dressed in silks, she is adorned with gold and diamonds from head to toe. Today, hearing Subbulakshmi sing my Brochevarevarura, I feel like that poor father who sees his daughter is transformed., oh so gloriously, from a simple girl into a stunning goddess. I wonder, Is this my song ? How did it become so divine?”

Kahan ke Pathak – HIndi 

“One morning when MS came to the spacious verandah in Kalki Gardens to find Devdas Gandhi on an easy chair, newspaper in one hand, filter coffee in the other, teaching young Anandhi, a favorite song of his. MS listened for a minute and quickly sat next to Anandhi and started learning the song. Other children came to swell the group. That is how Kahan ke Pathak, a Tulsidas poem, became a part of the MS repertoire.

Narayana nu – Gujarati


“Before a concert at St Xavier’s college in Bombay, MS hesitated to include Narayananu as she was unsure of the words. Sadasivam closed his eyes and sang the whole song for his wife. She listened, asked him to sing it once again, and rendered it that very evening.”

Mallika bone – Bengali

“What made her deploy that perfectly toned voice was her sensitivity to poetry. When she taught a new song she invariably began by explaining the meaning first. How could she not fall in love with Tagore’s moving scene of the jasmine wood ?

When the jasmine wood in my heart bore its first buds

I strung the blooms and my offerring to you

Will you not come ?”

Dhav Vibho – Marathi


” A Marathi abhang that MS learnt from a gramaphone plate in her youth. The year is 1933, the place Kumbakonam during the once in 12 years Mahamagham festival.  Sadasivam is in charge of the khadi stall at the fair. He hears music from the makeshift theatre. He stops spellbound. The voice implores the Lord to save humanity, Janana marana bhaya.  He did not know it then, but he would meet her years later.”

Thaaye Seyagi
Original Article published in Kalki Magazine in Jan 2006
A rough translation of the original article is enclosed below

When the mother became the child
Memories shared by Visalam Ammal

“I must have been around 10 years old. Both my father and mother were working in Kalki Gardens. A palatial home, a huge beautiful garden, and many other children Radha, Vijaya, Thangam and Anandhi to play with. So, I used to like going there often to play. It is there that I saw MS Amma for the first time. Such a smiling face, curly hair, soft spoken and so much beauty and grace. Noticing how precocious I was, MS Amma said “ Why not let her stay here, for a few days, with us ?” Who would have known that those ‘few days’ would really end up being the next 64 years ?

From that day, I had the good fortune to stay with MS Amma and help her with anything she needed till the very end of her life. Sadasivam Sir would tease her and say “Kunjamma, I think in your entire life, the name you have called the most must be Visalam ! “ Somehow, Amma had so much affection for me. She always wanted me to be by her side.

When my father informed them that my marriage had been arranged and was going to take place in Senji(about 3 hours from Chennai), I am not sure if Amma thought I was going to leave forever; she ran into her bedroom, threw herself on the bed and sobbed. Sadasivam Sir comforted her and said that I will not be going away forever and that I will be coming back after my wedding.

Amma had concerts or recordings all the time and so I used to take meticulous care to make sure she was in good health. Amma used to be even more strict about my well-being ! Amma would scold me and say “ You keep washing your hair because it is the month of Krithigai, Monday or Wednesday and then running to do your work without drying your hair properly; you might fall sick. Make sure you dry your hair properly and also put Sambrani on it “ If Amma even heard a small sneeze from me, she would come running and to touch my forehead and check to make sure I did not have fever.

Whenever I brought her anything to eat, Amma would first ask me – “ Have you eaten ?” I would insist that I was only bringing her food after I had eaten; but she was not fooled. She would shake her finger playfully and admonish “ Don’t you lie to me !”

As they grew older, Sadasivam Sir was not picky about food; even if it was curd rice with a tasty Peerkangai Thogayal, he would enjoy and eat it. But Amma was not like that; it took a lot of effort to convince Amma to eat properly. Sadasivam Sir would jokingly tell me “ You better come with us to heaven, Visalam. I am not sure if there are people there to give us our medicine correctly and to make sure we eat properly every day!”

Day to day, Amma would dress with simple elegance. Till the very end, she used Kasturi Manjal(Turmeric), and cosmetics made with naturally occurring ingredients like Hyderabad Kum Kum for her Bindi, Kohl made with the herb karisalankanni, dry shikakai powder. In her younger days, her curly hair used to spread out on her back, like the feathers of the peacock. Many women used to ask me what shampoo Amma used. They would not believe it when I said Amma only used a dry mix of powdered shikakai and moong dal.

Amma was really not that interested in gold jewelry. She used to love wearing glass bangles and used to have two boxes full of glass bangles in various colors. When Sadasivam Sir used to see it, he would say “ Why so many ? It is a burden. “ And, Amma used to give even that away, four at a time, to various friends.

When Amma was seriously ill and at Isabella Hospital, she was very weak and only communicating via gestures. I did a namaskaram to her and gestured, asking if I may leave. Amma immediately responded in a feeble voice “Where are you going ? Why are you going? Come back quickly. “
That was the last time I saw and spoke to Amma. It has been one year since Amma told me to come quickly.

Amma may not have given birth to me but I am also like a daughter to her. Radha and Vijaya treat me like a sister even now. I consider it an incredible boon that someone like me from such a humble background got the opportunity to serve such a world famous and great musical legend.”



MS sings the Indian National Anthem Jana Gana Mana at the conclusion of the concert at New Delhi in 1958

R.K.Venkatarama Shastri – Violin
V.Nagarajan – Mridangam
Umayalpuram N.Kodhandarama Iyer – Ghatam

Source :  From the Archives of Smt Radha Viswanathan

Digitised by Navaneet Krishnan



From MS & Radha by Gowri Ramnarayan

One of her signature viruttams, which involved improvised ragas across an exquisite Tamil lyric goes :

Even if the mother forgets the child,

and the child forgets the mother who bore it, 

even if life forsakes the body, and the body forsakes the soul,

even if the heart abandons the art it had absorbed, and eyes fail to blink,

I shall not forget the lord who resides within pure souls

Petra Thai followed by Araar Asai Padaar from a concert in Mysore in the 1960s

Source : sangeethapriya.org

Decades later in a televised concert,

Petra Thai Followed by Thiruvasakam Shiva Panchaksharam – Youtube