Better known as Janaki Amma, playback singer S. Janaki had begun her career with the Tamil film Vidhiyin Vilayattu. Also known as the Nightingale of South India, she has lent her voice to over 48,000 songs. Following her retirement, she has been the victim of death hoaxes at least twice.
M.S. Subbulakshmi was an Indian singer. Dubbed the Queen of Music, Subbulakshmi was the leading exponent of Carnatic music. In 1966, she became the first Indian to perform in UN General Assembly. In 1974, she became the first Indian musician to be awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award. In 1998, Subbulakshmi became the first musician to be awarded the Bharat Ratna.
Fort Kochi-born K.J. Yesudas is a major figure of Indian Malyali music. Known as Dasettan to his followers, the singer is an eight-time National Award winner and has the prestigious Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, and Padma Vibhushan in his kitty. He has also acted in a few regional films.
Zakir Hussain is an Indian musician, tabla virtuoso, percussionist, composer, and music producer. Widely regarded as one of the greatest tabla players of all time, Hussain has received many prestigious awards in his illustrious career. In 1990, he was honored with the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award. In 2002, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan, India's third-highest civilian award.
Bhimsen Joshi was an Indian vocalist best known for recording devotional songs. Widely regarded as one of the greatest vocalists of all time, Bhimsen Joshi was the first Indian musician whose concerts were promoted through posters in New York City, New York. Over the course of his career, Joshi received prestigious honors, such as the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award.
Usha Mangeshkar belongs to the iconic Mangeshkar musical family of India and is the second-youngest child of Pandit Deenanath Mangeshkar. She, and her famous siblings, Lata and Asha, once rocked the Hindi playback scene. Her song Mai Toh Aarti from Jai Santoshi Maa earned her a Filmfare nomination.
Legendary sarod player Ustad Amjad Ali Khan was born to a court musician in Gwalior and performed his first recital at age 6. He later took the sarod to the international stage, with performances in the US and other countries. The Padma Vibhushan winner’s two sons, too, are classical musicians.