In September 2021, our beautiful, talented, wise friend and soul sister Krishna Sundari departed our world.
I am remembering how we first met once upon a lifetime ago. She was Kathy Kellock in those days, and later reverted to her birth name, Kathy D’Amico – she was of American Italian heritage and the music was in her blood – her late father played a mean flugelhorn is a Sydney jazz band
It was in the fall of 1983 at Hornsby Folk Club in Sydney, Australia. This gorgeous, elfin flautist was doing a Jethro Tull riff to Red Gum’s Ned Kelly Song, Poor Ned you’re better off dead, with a couple of folkie lads in a band called Kurrajong. After their set, I went up to her and said “Hi, I’m Paul. Would you like to be in my band?” She said “I’ll give it a go”. And she did. The band was HuldreFolk.
Our group sundered, as is the way of most groups, but we never lost touch, and we’d rendezvous often down the years. There’d be many an impromptu recital along the way. All were special. One enchanted evening, I think it was 2013, we held a house concert in our home in Newtown, Sydney. The band was winding down. “Where’s Eric?” asked Adèle, And away they go, Dimitri, Dominic and Krishna Sundari, into Layla. Llew ran off, quickly returned, and hey! it’s bizouki Layla – and magic happened. Magic happened often whenever Krishna Sundari picked up her flute.
We’ve all traveled different roads since and have ended up in places we’d never imagined we’d be.
She changed her life and her religion, joining the Krishna faith, letting go of the material world and giving away everything she owned except the clothes she wore – and her flute (after all, Krishna himself was a flautist). She rarely played, but she’d take it out and played like in days of old, enchanting all who heard her.
On enchanted evening, we held a house party at our Newtown home back in about 2013. The band was winding down. “Where’s Eric?” asked Adèle. And in they go, Demitri, Dominic, and Krishna Sundari, into Layla. Llew ran off, returned and hey, bizouki Layla. And magic happened. magic happened often when Krishna Sundari picked up her flute.
Visiting her guru in India, she was at a dham in Kolkata when COVID19 struck, and unable to score a flight back to Australia, remained there for sixteen months. She called us regularly on WhatsApp to tell us that she was safe and happy, and how wonderful it was when during the lockdowns, Kolkata’s pollution disappeared, the skies were blues, and birdsong filled the air. It was only after she was diagnosed with terminal cancer that she was evacuated back to Australia via the Howard Springs Quarantine Camp in Darwin and her family. It was her karma that she passed away in Mullumbimby.
She faced her death with courage and equanimity, confident in her belief that this world is just one station on the way to a better one. Before she left India on a Qantas repatriation flight she joked that if she missed that plane and died, at least she would be cremated beside the Ganges.
At the end of our mutual journey, it’s like we’ve been close friends forever – and forever, we will always be.
Our deepest condolences to her daughters Sarah and Haley, her son Robert, and granddaughter Naomi, her former partner, Billy Williams and the devotees of the Sri Govinda Dham in Uki on the Tween River.
As my friend and Arabic teacher said when I told him of the loss of friends, Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un – إِنَّا لِلَّٰهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ – We belong to God and to Him do we return
Kath played on my two record albums. Here she is in full flight.
Kathy jamming with the Hip Shooters in Mullumbimby