Here is a link you will not regret opening – it is a rare treat.
MS Amma (as she is fondly referred to now) did her 1st recording, when she was a kid of barely 10 years! (1926)
She came back from school & was eager to go out and play; But her mother, Madurai Shanmuga Vadivu, seized an opportunity and made the kid sing a Tamizh Song (Maragatha Vadivum);
Shanmuga Vadivu played the Veena along with the daughter who sang;
This was recorded by Oriental Records!
Nanda and I were scouting around for rare gems to be featured on our weekly on-air live television show when we first heard this rare recording of MS Amma when she was barely 10 at the home of late Sri Sundaram. IAS and his calm and lovely wife Padma whom he has since immortalized in his elegies on Padma.
Not just this song. We heard the voice of the Mahatma on an antique gramophone.
We sat in spellbound silence when he recounted tales of his great, good and different days as a civil servant until he voluntarily retired from service at age 51.
The Sundarams had an awesome collection. Not just music, books and collectibles from all their travels and postings.
No visit, and we made three, was ever the same. And we never came away empty handed. He filled our minds with rich tales and strong views. Quaint humor and quotes were his hallmark. He authored essays and books. In fact, my friend and I were privileged to receive his book, Essays and Reviews. With an invitation to review and critique it! We never dared to. It just remains a treasured relic along with others of the period. Thanks Nanda, for leaving it behind with me.
V. Sundaram was a lover and keen student of Carnatic Music. He was a trained Mridangam Player and had a large collection of rare Carnatic Music records.
He also had a rare and magnificent collection of rare audio voices of great statesmen and men of history, scholars, philosophers and poets of international fame. A keen collector of South Indian art, he has donated several bronzes and other art objects to the Madras Museum.