Dharambir Dhadyalla

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Dharambir Singh is a prominent sitar player and Indian music educator based in England. A disciple of the legendary Ustad Vilayat Khan, he has deeply imbibed the rich styles of the Imdad Khani and Vilayat Khani Gharana.

Initially guided by Professor Sita Ram and later introduced to the Gayaki style by Professor Narinder Nirula, Dharambir's early musical foundation was shaped by significant influences. His uncle, Sardar Avtar Singh, an eminent tabla player, provided initial guidance and introduced him to many prominent musicians. It was through Satguru Jagjit Singh that Dharambir met Ustad Vilayat Khan, who invited him to the traditional initiation ceremony, Ganda Bandhan, in Bombay in 1979.

Moving to England the same year, Dharambir has since built a diverse career performing, teaching, advising, organizing, mentoring, and composing, significantly contributing to the foundation of Indian classical music in England. He holds a degree from India, an MA from SOAS, University of London, and an FTCL in performance from Trinity College London.

Dharambir has performed widely in major festivals across England, Spain, Germany, Italy, Canada, and the USA. He has worked extensively with the Euro Asian fusion group Shiva Nova and collaborated with various musicians, including British saxophonist Martin Speake, resulting in the acclaimed CD “Journey,” and the Free Spirits Jazz ensemble, recognized by Jazz UK.

His reputation as an educator is unparalleled in England. He began teaching for the Leicester Music Service in 1983 and later served as a lecturer and Artistic Director at Leeds College of Music. He founded numerous innovative projects, including the International Summer Schools in Indian Music, and has been a key figure in organizations such as SAA-uk, SAMYO, and Tarang.

Dharambir has also been an advisor for Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, London, contributing to the BMus (Hons) Indian Music program. He received the NESTA fellowship from 2006 to 2010, developing technology solutions for teaching Indian music and pioneering concepts to make it more accessible.

In 2011, Dharambir Singh was awarded an MBE for his contributions to music.

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