Carnatic music flautist Sikkil Mala Chandrasekhar was born into a musical family on 23 August 1963 and was initiated into music at the age of five. She started learning from her aunt and mother –Sikkil Sisters - Kunjumani and Neela. Her musical style is acclaimed as a seamless blend of aspects of her aunt’s classical grammar and mother’s evocative expression.
At the age of 15 she presented her maiden solo concert at ‘Sakthivel llam’, Mylapore (spiritual guru’s house Sri Mani Swamigal) in an unconventional manner with S.D. Sridhar on the violin and Srimushnam V. Raja Rao on the mridangam. The major inspiration and influences for Chandrasekhar have been flautist Azhiyur Narayanaswamy Iyer, mridangam virtuoso Azhiyur Natesa Iyer, and the repertoire of noted vocalist and teacher Radha Viswanathan, and M.S. Subbulakshmi, whose family Mala joined by marriage.
During her college years, she performed regularly in the concert circle as well as on radio. In her final year of college, Chandrasekhar had the opportunity to participate in the ‘Violin Venu Veena’ trio ensemble with Lalagudi Vijayalakshmi on the violin and her friend Padmavathi on the veena. This association grew and gave her the opportunity to enrich her learning.
She has received recognition for her talent in the form of several awards and titles like Shanmukha Sangeetha Shiromani in 2006 by Bombay Shanmukhananda Sangeetha Sabha, in 2001, Music Academy's MD Ramanathan Award for senior flautist, Kartik Fine Arts' Isai Peroli title and many others.