Visiting flutist gets another major Award

In what is arguably a rare feat, a comparatively young artiste has been chosen to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award by a reputed organisation in India.

Lucknow based Sahara India Pariwar announced that Sikkil Mala Chandrasekhar had been selected for this honour, reportedly the first South Indian to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Like so many other Awards that she has received over the past 21 years, beginning with the ‘Flautist Award and ‘Main Artist Award (1990) of the Chennai based Youth Association for Classical Music, Ms Chandrasekhar would accept the latest accolade as the ‘Grace of God.’ For, with piety that runs in the family, she believes that talent is divine, honed in the mundane world with the help of family, associates, well-wishers and even critics.

She said each of the achievements in her life and career came about “under different circumstances.”

“It has taken a while for me to attain this status and I will surely keep striving hard to attain many more,” she said.

New Zealand Concerts

Ms Chandrasekhar will present a concert each in Auckland and Wellington respectively on May 7 and 8, the first organised by Rasikas (NZ) Ltd at the Selwyn College Auditorium in Kohimarama and the second in association with the New Zealand Indian Fine Arts Society at Adam Concert Hall, Victoria University, Kelburn.

She will be accompanied by Hirisave Narasimhamurthy (H N) Bhaskar on the violin and Palladam Ravi (Ramachandran) on Mridangam at the concerts.

Unlike vocal music and some musical instruments such as the violin, it is hard to find women enjoying an elevated status in flute, as Ms Chandrasekhar does.

She agreed it was a great challenge to overcome the hurdles.

“It is the Divine hand of God that has been a source of strength in my life and career. There were high expectations as a member of a well-known musical (Sikkil) family. I strongly believe that if one is destined to get something, God takes care of the hurdles,” she said.

Divine Blessing

Such a statement was undoubtedly marked by modesty. Even as a teenager, her prowess was noticed by experts as she appeared in the ‘Ilam Thenral’ concert on Television. Immediately thereafter, she presented a concert under the auspices of the Krishna Gana Sabha. Several other concerts at home and abroad ensued.

Following her concert at the Presidential Palace in Delhi to commemorate the World Music Day on June 21, 2007, then President Dr Abdul Kalam said, “Not only does she derive immense joy while playing the flute, but she also filled the hall with aanandam (bliss).”

A year later, when she presented the Peace and Harmony Concert at the United Nations in aid of the victims of the civil war in Sri Lanka, she was reminded of the fact that she was the second person from the same family to present a concert at the world body (the late Bharat Ratna M S Subbulakshmi had presented a concert in 1965).

Ms Chandrasekhar said she was looking forward to her maiden visit to New Zealand next month.

“I have heard about your beautiful country and I am looking forward to a beautiful experience in Auckland and Wellington,” she said.

What: Flute Concert by Mala Chandrasekhar & Party

Organised by: Rasikas NZ (Auckland) & NZIFAS Wellington

Where: Selwyn College Auditorium, Kohimarama Road, Auckland

When: Saturday, May 7 at 6 pm

Where: Adam Concert Hall, Victoria University, Kelburn

When: Sunday, May 8 at 4 pm

Contact: Priya Srinivasan (09) 4160165 Email: rasikas.nz@gmail.com

Balajee Thirupukuzhi (04) 9724032 Email: nzifs.secretary@gmail.com

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