Parassala B. Ponnammal (29 November 1924 – 22 June 2021) was an Indian Carnatic musician. On 23 September 2006, she sang at the Navaratri Mandapam in Trivandrum, breaking 300 years of tradition that forbade women from performing at or attending the famed Navaratri Celebrations of the Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple in Kerala.This was made possible by Prince Rama Varma of the Travancore Royal Family.
Awards of Recognition :
Padma Shri, Government of India, New Delhi. 2017
M.G.Radhakrishnan Award, 2016
Lifetime Achievement Award, Chennai Fine Arts, Chennai, Tamil Nadu on 23 March 2015
Sangeetha Prabhakara Award, 2012
S. Ganesha Sarma Award, instituted by Ganesha Sarma Educational and Charitable Society, 2009
Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, 2009
Swathi Sangeetha Puraskaram, 2009
Sree Guruvayurappan Chembai Puraskaram, 2009
Some of her disciples :
N. J. Nandini
M. G. Radhakrishnan
Dr. K. Omanakutty
Early life :
She was born to Mahadeva Iyer and Bhagavathy Ammal in a Kerala Iyer family in 1924 in Parassala in Thiruvananthapuram district of the Indian state of Kerala.
Ponnammal started to learn carnatic music as a child. Ponnammal was the first female student to enroll in the newly started Swathi Thirunal College of Music in Thiruvananthapuram during the early 1940s and passed out from there with first rank in "Gana Bushanam" and "Gana Praveena" courses.
Ponnammal learned Carnatic music from several carnatic master singers. Shri. Papanasam Sivan, Shri. Harikesanallur Muthiah Bhagavatar and Shri. Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer were some of her teachers.
Ponnammal started her career as a music teacher by joining the Cotton Hill Girls High School in Thiruvnanthapuram. Later she became the first female member of the teaching faculty in the Swathi Thirunal College of Music in Thiruvananthapuram. She was the first woman principal to head the RLV College of Music and Fine Arts at Tripunithura.
She performed Guruvayur Puresa Suprabhatham, Trisivapuresa Suprabhatahm, Ulsava Prabhandam, Navarathri Kriti, Meenambika Sthothram, along with compositions of Irayamman Thampi and Mr. K. C. Kesava Pillai.