India has conferred one of its highest civilian honor, the ‘Karmaveer Puraskaar’ on Jazz maestro, Saskia Laroo of the Netherlands. The ‘Karmaveer Puraskaar’ was awarded to Saskia under the ‘Global Artiste for Change’ category, for the year 2010-11.
The ‘Karmaveer Puraskaar(www.karmaveer.com) are described as the National Awards for Social Justice and Citizen Action instituted by the people sector with various partner organizations, citizens at large and media supporters. The awards are a part of the “Right every Wrong” movement and are given at a ceremony held in New Delhi on November 26 every year by the Indian Confederation of Non Government Organizations (iCONGO).
“It is my honor to be chosen to receive the prestigious Karmaveer Puraskaar. I thank India and all my fans worldwide, for bringing me to this position,” Saskia Laroo said, upon being informed about her winning the award.
Saskia Laroo (www.saskialaroo.nl) is also known in India and abroad for being among the first foreign artiste of such top caliber to have performed at the Jazz for Peace concert held in Panjim on December 7, 2008. This concert was held in the horrifying aftermath of the 26-11-2008 terror attacks on Mumbai, India, that sent shockwaves across the globe. The world anxiously watched the Indian subcontinent for a seemingly imminent war between the two nuclear armed neighbors, India and Pakistan. While thousands of foreigners cancelled their planned trips to India, Saskia ignored international travel advisories and arrived in Goa, via Mumbai, and held the ‘Jazz for Peace’ show. This show, held in Panjim, capital of India’s western state, Goa, helped rekindle hopes for peace even as hundreds of families in India and abroad were bereaving civilians, policemen and military personnel of various religions, martyred in those attacks. The ‘Jazz for Peace’ concert brought together Indians and foreigners in a show of solidarity and amity.
Saskia’s nomination for the Karmaveer Puraskaar was made by Armando Gonsalves, Founder and CEO, Heritage Jazz (www.heritagejazz.com) which had organized the ‘Jazz for Peace’ concert. Armando Gonsalves is also a Karmaveer Puraskaar winner for the year 2009-10, under the ‘Peace and Harmony’ category. The ‘Jazz for Peace’ concert was held at the Gonsalves Mansion in Panjim, which is also reputed as the Home of Jazz in India. “Saskia’s dedication to promotion of peace and harmony has touched everyone in India and elsewhere. I therefore believed she merited a national accolade such as the ‘Karmaveer Puraskaar’ and hence, nominated her,” said Armando Gonsalves.
Further, Saskia Laroo and her quartet were the first foreign band to perform traditional Konkani tunes, at a free concert held to mark the 140th anniversary of the St. Andrews Church in Goa Vehla, Goa, India. Konkani is the culture and language of Goa. Through the Goa Velha concert, Saskia Laroo gave birth to a new concept- Konkani Rocks- which aims at preserving and cherishing Konkani music and promoting it worldwide. She amply highlighted that music cuts across all frontiers to unite people.
During every Goa visit, Saskia Laroo takes time from her hectic schedule for charitable activities such as visiting children with special needs, destitute senior citizens, underprivileged kids and their families and victims of dread diseases. She conducts free workshops for such children and their families.