Lourde-Mary Rajeswari Eswari (L. R. Eswari) (Tamil: எல். ஆர். ஈஸ்வரி Telugu: ఎల్ ఆర్ ఈశ్వరి) is a veteran playback singer of the Tamil movie and Telugu movie industries. She also sang in other languages like Kannada, Malayalam, Tulu, and English.
She has won Kalaimamani, the Tamil Nadu's state award for her contributions to the film industry."Singer L.R. Eswari felicitated". The Hindu. 10 December 2007. Retrieved 17 January 2010.
She was born in Chennai into a Roman Catholic family to Anthony Devraj and Regina Mary Nirmala. Her ancestors were from Paramakudi near Madurai. Her full name is Lourde-Mary Rajeshwari. Since there was already another established singer with the name of M.S.Rajeshwari her name was abbreivated into L.R.Eshwari. She did not have any formal training in singing. Her mother was a chorus singer in films. Eshwari used to accompany her mother to the studios and soon began singing in the chorus herself, but quickly got a break to lend her voice as lead-singer. Her first break came from Sri K.V.Mahadevan in 1958 in the movie 'Nalla Idaththu Sammandham', her first solo song recorded in this movie was 'ivarey thaan avarey'. But major recognition came from the song 'vaarai en thozhi vaaraayo' from the movie 'paasa malar' (1961) sung under the baton of Viswanathan-Ramamurthy, which composers explored and exploited her vocal abilities to the maximum extent possible over the next 20 years.
She sang under the direction of famous composers like M.S.Viswanathan,T.K.Ramamoorthy, K. V. Mahadevan,Veda,V.Kumar,Shankar-Ganesh,G.K.Venkatesh Ilayaraja and Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan. Her unique voice was considered to be suited for peppy numbers in the movies, be it a dance tune, folk song or a devotional track. Her song "Vaarayo Thozhi" from Paasa Malar was a popular choice for wedding music.
She has also recorded many devotional albums in praise of the Goddess Amman which were hugely popular among the Tamil community and were played in many temples. Her "Chellatha" and "Karpoora Nayagi" numbers has won her a lot of fame among devotees. She sang Christmas songs "Varuvai Varuvai" and " Deivam thantha divya kumaaran" composed by Dr Anand Chellappa. She has won the Kalaimamani Award and other states awards. Her Hindi song uduthi hi chidiya from the film pistonwali, music by satyam shows her ability. She sang romantic songs filmed on heroines as well as cabarets filmed on dance-artistes and also folk songs.
She made her everlasting impression in Telugu film industry with her husky and peppy numbers. Till date most of her songs are very popular among the Telugu audience. Her notable hits include "Masaka masaka Cheekatilo" from Devudu Chesina Manushulu, "Maayadari sinnodu" from Ammamaata, "Bhale Bhale magadivo" from Marocharitra, "Arey yemiti lokam" from Anthulenikatha, "Le le le naa raaja" from Premnagar, "Malle puvvulu pillagaalulu" and "Theesko coco cola esko rammusoda" etc.
Perhaps she and P.Susheela were the most popular female-duet-duo ever, they complimented each other perfectly in terms of voice and style, and sang very many popular duets in their times – unadhu malar, chiththira poovizhi, ninaithaal sirippu, thoodhu sella etc.. They seemed to share a perfect chemistry and out-did each other line after line, apparently providing each other inspiration all along the song.She sang a popular duet "Gudilona naa swamy koluvai unnadu " with S. Janaki in a Telugu movie Idalokam for music of Chakravarthy,which remains a top hit till date. She rendered several duets with S Janaki in Kannada movies as well.
She sang innumerable duets with all the leading male singers also – T. M. Soundararajan, A. L. Raghavan, P. B. Sreenivas, S.P. Balasubramaniam, K. J. Yesudas, J. P. Chandrababu, C. S. Jayaraman, S. C. Krishnan, Thiruchi Loganathan, A. M. Rajah, Seerkazhi Govindarajan,Malaysia Vasudevan, & Jayachandran.
She also sang duets with female singers with most notably with P. Suseela, S. Janaki, Vanijayaram K. Jamuna Rani, M. S. Rajeswari and Soolamangalam Rajalakshmi.
After a long break, she made her re-entry through a rocky peppy Tamil Song "Kalasala Kalasala " from Movie Osthi 2011. Within few days of this song release, it has became a super hit and reached music box office top ratings,she sang the new Tamil song "Naa Poondamallida per puspavallida" from thadaiyara thakka 2012. She has also sung a recent Kannada Song for the movie Victory, the song name is 'Yakka Nin Magalu Nanage'. In 2013 she sang the duet song "Thagadu thagadu"with T.Rajendar for the movie Arya surya.