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Page last updated at 08:40 GMT, Friday, 17 July 2009 09:40 UK

Leading Indian singer dies at 90

DK Pattammal on a book cover
Ms Pattammal was a leading exponent of Carnatic music

One of India's leading classical singers, DK Pattammal, has died aged 90, members of her family have said.

Ms Pattammal was a key exponent of southern Indian classical music, better known as Carnatic music.

She was one of the first female Indian singers to perform at public concerts and one of the earliest Carnatic musicians to sing in films.

The Carnatic style of music is a tradition in India that goes back thousands of years.

Ms Pattammal sang on state radio on the eve of Indian independence.

She passed away on Friday after a brief illness, family members said.

Famous for her purist style and clear diction, Ms Pattammal belonged to a celebrated trinity of women who sang Carnatic music, including the internationally renowned MS Subbulakshmi and ML Vasanthakumari.

In July 1999, Ms Pattammal sang in an 18-hour Carnatic music concert in the southern Indian city of Chennai at a benefit for Indian soldiers.

"She was a path-breaking woman musician who was one of the first feminists without making a big deal about it," singer TM Krishna told Hindustan Times newspaper.

One of the newspaper's writers said that Ms Pattammal was the "first woman musician from an orthodox family to sing Carnatic music in public, at a time when ancient taboos sternly constricted the lives of 'upper caste' woman".

The singer is survived by her husband and two sons.



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