D.K. Pattamal, RIP

One of my favorite singers, D. K. Pattamal, passed away this week.

This YouTube video has a number of photographs as well as a raga sung by her:

I had no idea that Carnatic music used to be a male-dominated field (about half of all vocalists now are women) or that she had such a hard time breaking in (this was the 1930s):
Today, the hurdles this musician had to cross seem astonishing. As a Brahmin woman, she could not undergo gurukula training — the norm in those times. Nor did she belong to a family of musicians inheriting the art as a birthright. Patta desperately notated songs in concerts, and took down key phrases of ragas rare or intricate. Her brothers — later her accompanists — helped her in this task.

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