Soolamangalam Jayalakshmi, singer and musician, and one of the two Soolamangalam Sisters, died late last night in Chennai. She was 85.
A report in Dinakaran says that Jayalaksmi had been unwell for a while, and passed away at her home in Besant Nagar, Chennai. The family have said that her body will be kept at home for well-wishers and family to pay last respects. As per her wishes, the family will donate her body to Ramachandra Hospital to aid in research and education into medical science.
The two Soolamangalam Sisters – Rajalakshmi and Jayalakshmi – were known for their Carnatic classical singing, and their devotional songs in Tamil. Born in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, the two sisters were the first to sign Carnatic music as a duo, starting a trend leading to the Bombay Sisters, Ranjani-Gayatri, and others. Rajalakshmi had passed away in 1992.
The sisters were best known for their devotional album on Murugan – the Kandar Shasti Kavasam.
Although the two sisters worked together, Rajalakshmi found more success as a playback singer for Tamil cinema. However, they also composed their own music for films – Dharisanam, Pillayar, Tiger Thattachari. Rajalakshmi sang for music directors KV Mahadevan, MS Vishwanathan, Shankar-Ganesh, among others, while Jayalakshmi mostly sang duets with her sister.
The duo was conferred a Kalaimaamani Award by the Tamil Nadu government for their contribution to the arts.