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Suguna Purusothaman is no more
CHENNAI, February 25: We regret to announce that noted Carnatic vocalist and teacher Suguna Purusothaman is no more.

She died here on Wednesday, after a battle with cancer.

She was 74, and survived by her husband and two daughters.

A native of Ponvilainthakalathur in Chengalpet, Suguna came under the tutelage of Musiri Subramania Iyer on a Central Government scholarship in the 1960s.

She was also a good composer. Suguna received her training in Carnatic music from towering musicians in the field, including Musiri Subramanya Iyer, Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, Thinniam Venkatarama Iyer, and P. Sambamoorti. She also acquired proficiency in playing the Veena, which she learnt under Lalithabai Shamanna.

A distinctive feature of her music is the dwi-tala avadhana – the art of keeping two different talas, producing intricate rhythm. Mridangist Thinniyam Venkatrama Iyer taught her the intricacies of layam, and introduced her to Musiri. An expert in pallavi singing, she could even render simma nanthana pallavi (128 counts) in a way that appealed to a lay rasika.

She was a top-ranking artiste of All-India Radio and Doordarshan, and had produced many recordings of her own compositions — Padavarnams, Kritis, thematic Ragamalikas, Javalis and Thillanas. She had authored a book of her compositions titled Kadambam. She had also performed widely in India and abroad. Suguna was honoured by various institutions. These distinctions include the title of Sangeetha Choodamani conferred by the Sri Krishna Gana Sabha (2004), the Vaggeyakara Award of The Music Academy, Chennai (2006), and the Kalaimamani title bestowed by the Tamil Nadu Eyal Isai Nataka Manram (2006). And, she was also the recipient of the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for her contribution to Carnatic vocal music.