Illustrious singer Mar Mar Aye passes away at aged 82

Mar Mar Aye, a nationally renowned vocalist in the Myanmar music landscape, passed away yesterday at her residence in Fort Wayne, Indiana, United States of America.
Mar Mar Aye was 82 years old at the time of her demise. Born as Ma Aye Myint in Shangon ward, Myaungmya, Ayeyawady Region, in the second Waso month of Myanmar Era 1304 (26 July 1942), she hailed from a family of musicians. Her father, U Aye, was a Hne (Myanmar clarinet) player, and her mother, Daw Than Hnit, also known as Myaungmya Than, was a singer.
Initiating her illustrious career at three with the Khitthit Razawun Drama Troupe, she began radio singing at eight. Mar Mar Aye adopted various stage names with different orchestras, but she became most prominently known by her given name.
Her breakthrough moment occurred in 1955 when her single “Let’s Play on the Rainbow” catapulted her to musical stardom. She secured top poetry reciting awards in the middle grade for three consecutive years from 1956 to 1958, also winning the Tagonsite Award for this achievement. Additionally, she wrote songs and poems under the pen name Lay Mar and published a novel titled “Mummy Sheep.”
Joining Myanma Radio in 1961 as a deputy programme broadcaster, she served as an executive member of the Myanmar Modern Music Council and a member of the Gita Padetha magazine committee. Mar Mar Aye took lead roles in three films. In 1971, she established her record label, “Tay Than Shin,” and founded the “Aye School for Vocalist Training” in 1976. Managing Mar Mar Aye Music Productions and Studio-A recording studio, she also served as Secretary-1 of the National League of Musicians in 1989 and a member of the committee for musical note documentation under the Ministry of Culture.
Mar Mar Aye, a multi-talented artist and celebrated vocalist, immigrated to the USA in 1998. Besides writing musical memoirs and studying medicine, she performed for Myanmar immigrants in various states of the USA, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Japan. Hosting the fan-favourite radio programme “I Still Have a Lot to Say” with the London-based BBC Burmese, Mar Mar Aye remained respected and garnered admiration from contemporaries and audiences alike. — TWA/NT

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