Obit: Sikkil Kunjumani

Senior Carnatic music flute artiste Sikkil Kunjumani passed away in Mylapore, Chennai on Saturday, November 13.

She was the elder of the well-known duo, the Sikkil Sisters, fluatists. She was 83.
The funeral was held on Sunday.

She is survived by her sister, and 2 children.

She learnt her first lessons in playing the flute from her uncle Azhiyur Narayanaswamy Iyer and later, from her father Azhiyur Natesa Iyer, who was a reputed mridangam artiste and guru.

Once she gained competency, she began to perform on stage and was one of the few women to do so at a time when women were not encouraged as public performers.

She used to play solo and her career encouraged other women to pursue music and also present kutcheris.

Later, she accompanied her sister Neela and soon, the Sikkil Sisters were a permanent fixture on the concert circuit.

Years later, Neela’s daughter Mala Chandrasekar who also trained as a flautist joined the duo for many recitals.

Kunjumani was decorated with the Padma Shri award and with the Sangita Kalanidhi title besides many others during her long career.

The sisters continued to perform despite advancing age.

The family resides in Jeth Nagar, Mandaveli, R. A. Puram, Chennai.

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