Accolade Music

Australian honour for Indian musician

Shobha Sekhar

Shobha Sekhar  

Melbourne-based Shobha Sekhar has been chosen for the Medal of the Order for her service to the community and the country

Shobha Sekhar, founder of Kalakruthi, music organisation in Australia is a happy person. The Melbourne-based artiste and lecturer, University of Melbourne, figures in the Queen’s Birthday 2020 Honours List and will be conferred the Medal of the Order of Australia later this year. The message from David Hurley, Governor general and Chancellor of the Order of Australia says: “Through the Order of Australia, Bravery Decorations and other awards we recognise and celebrate outstanding Australians — ordinary people, who do extraordinary things for their local community and for Australia... It is for these men and women that the Australian honours system exists, providing much-deserved recognition, acknowledgement and gratitude on behalf of all Australians.” Tony Abbott, former Prime Minister of Australia and Michael Clark, cricketer, are among those nominated.

Order of Australia

Order of Australia  

Since 1994, Shobha Sekhar a management graduate, let music enrich her own life and provide the community with the much needed aesthetic touch. Trained by several stalwarts in vocal and veena, including DKP, D.K. Jayaraman and K.S. Narayanaswamy, Shobha started Kalakruthi in that year and has been training countless aspirants in Carnatic music. She has presented several concerts in Australia and other parts of the world. Kalakruthi is affiliated to The Music Academy, Chennai, and the students receiving lessons in advanced levels from the faculty of the Academy’s music school.

Last year, Kalakruthi celebrated its silver jubilee. Shobha considers the observation of N. Murali, president, The Music Academy, poignant. Chief guest at the jubilee event, Mr. Murali said, “Melbourne’s gain is Chennai’s loss.” These words came as a morale booster to Shobha, who often regretted not being based in Chennai, where she could have attained better grown as an artiste. Kalakruthi has been part of several charity initiatives. Recently, in association with 25 schools, a programme of music and dance was conducted to raise funds for the victims of Victoria Bushfire.

In her acceptance speech, Shobha speaks of the potential of music to give the healing touch. Thanking everyone who had a role to play in her long journey of hard work and success, she says music is the finest art form to unite people and give them strength and hope in these stress-filled times. “I am being rewarded for service to Indian music and dance — encompassing humanitarian, cultural and educative services through Music,” supplements Shobha through email.

Shobha leading the Kalakruthi band

Shobha leading the Kalakruthi band  

Inspiring response

She cites the response of Richard Kurth, Dean of Faculty of Music, University of Melbourne, where Shobha teaches music, as the quintessential response from the Western Music world and each of my 1000-odd University students she has mentored in the past 12 years. Says Kurth: “I am SO happy to receive this fantastic news from you, and I have just deeply enjoyed watching your wonderful veena performance, your gorgeous singing, and your eloquent speech. Your music brought tears of joy to my eyes, and your words inspired me with your wisdom about cultural diversity and the importance of teachers and music.”

The award and the response have come as a shot in the arm for Shobha, who says: “I vow to be a catalyst and add SteAm, A for Arts (music) into the stem- (Science, Technology, English and Maths) based Education in Australia.”

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Printable version | Jul 16, 2020 10:22:35 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/australian-honour-for-indian-musician/article31802213.ece

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