Chennai, Nov 1 (IANS) France has decorated the Carnatic vocalist, composer, humanitarian and speaker Aruna Sairam with its prestigious Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters) award. Its previous recipients from India have included Kamal Hassan, Soumitra Chatterjee and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.
Aruna Sairam has been selected for this award not just for her singing prowess, but also for her contribution towards development of the Indo-France relationship.
Announcing the award, Consul General of France in Chennai Lise Talbot Barre said that the Minister of Culture of the French Republic, Rima Abdul Malak had appointed Aruna Sairam to the rank of Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.
Lise said, “This award is the unequivocal token of my country’s appreciation for your brilliant career and of your numerous contributions to the French and international artistic scene”.
“You have carried for over 30 years the marvellous beauty and subtlety of Carnatic music in India and across the world. This award thus underlines the friendship that you have always carried to France.
“By your performance and your creation you have revolutionized the world of Carnatic music. With your numerous joint programmes with French artistes and frequent performances in France, you have greatly contributed to bring France and India closer together and develop cultural and artistic cooperation between our two countries,” the Consul General said.
Expressing happiness on being selected for the honour, Aruna Sairam said, “I am very happy for getting such a prestigeous award for just doing my duty as a musician and inheritor of the rich cultural heritage of our country. This also gives me additional responsibility to continue what I am doing. This award will help me to take my work to the next level. I thank the French government for their kind gesture.”
Aruna Sairam began her classical training under her mother, Rajalakshmi Sethuraman. She then became a disciple of legendary vocalist, Sangita Kalanidhi T. Brinda, thereby continuing an illustrious line of women singers of the Tanjore tradition for more than eight generations. Later, she was mentored by several other maestros of our country.
Her music has erased geographical borders when she was the first to incorporate Abhang, a Western Indian musical form, into a traditional, South Indian concert. By interacting with national and international musicians, Aruna communicates beyond regional contexts, using melody as a language of human expression.
Not confining her body of work to performances, Aruna has contributed a great deal to the field of imparting her knowledge to students across the world. She founded the Nadayogam Trust.
Aruna Sairam is recipient of several awards including the Padma Shri by the Central Government and the Sangita Kalanidhi by the Music Academy.
She was also elected as the Vice-Chairperson of the Sangeet Natak Akademi.
Apart from this she is also the recipient of Tamil Nadu government’s Kalaimamani Award and Kalidas Samman Award of Madhya Pradesh.
Aruna Sairam has also received the US Congressional Award of Excellence and was also conferred appreciation by the Mayor of the City of New York and the city of San Diego.