D. K. Pattammal

D. K. Pattammal

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Category: Music

D. K. Pattammal Profile

  • Name:
  • D. K. Pattammal
  • Other Name:
  • Damal Krishnaswamy Pattammal
  • Born:
  • March 28, 1919
  • Died:
  • July 16, 2009
  • Father:
  • Damal Krishnaswamy Dikshithar
  • Mother:
  • Kanthimathi
  • Spouse:
  • R. Iswaran

D. K. Pattammal Biography

Damal Krishnaswamy Pattammal, shortly known as D. K. Pattammal was a prominent Carnatic musician from Kancheepuram. She was a playback singer also. She along with her contemporaries M. S. Subbulakshmi and M. L. Vasanthakumari are popularly referred to as Female trinity of Carnatic Music. These three female personalities were those great names who initiated woman’s name in Carnatic music main stream. She performed in concerts for about 65 long years. She was considered as an authority or encyclopedia of Muthuswami Dikshitar's compositions.


Pattammal was born in an orthodox Brahmin family in Kancheepuram on 28 March 1919. She was called ‘Patta’ from her early childhood. She was born as the child of Damal Krishnaswamy Dikshithar and Kanthimathi, both inclined to music. Though her mother was a talented singer, the orthodox Brahmin society didn’t allow her to sing in public and pursue a career. But Pattammal from her younger age started singing, thus breaking the traditions of Brahmin society. But she didn’t receive any formal training in music. Her brothers have helped her in learning music. Later, she received tuition from an unnamed Telugu-speaking musician. He taught her Telugu and Sanskrit also.


At the young age of 8, Pattammal won her first prize for singing Thyagaraja's "Raksha Bettare" in Bhairavi in a singing competition. In 1929, at age 10, Pattamal gave her first radio performance for AIR. She gave her first public concert at the age of 13. Then she moved to Chennai and became an established vocalist. In 1939 she got married to R. Iswaran. She was one among those earliest Carnatic singers who started playback singing for movies. She was introduced to film world by Papanasam Siva. But she stick on to only classical tune based songs and stayed away from romantic and fast numbers. Her debut song was for the movie, Thyagabhoomi (1939), a patriotic song. She popularized many compositions of Subramania Bharathiyar also.

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Updated: January 21, 2014

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