I am Durga Ramakrishnan, a musician, music teacher, performer, and a playworker. I hail from a musical family and was trained by my grandmother, Smt. Kalpagam Santhanam, in Veena and Vocal. I have graduated in Indian Music from The University of Madras, India. I underwent Teachers’ Training at Chennai Music Academy.
I sing South Indian Classical Music known as ‘Carnatic Music’ and play a string instrument called the ‘Veena’. I sing in various styles including classical, semi classical, bhajans, folk and light music. My repertoire is vast and consists of compositions by various composers in different languages like Sanskrit, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Marathi, Hindi and Punjabi. I started to begin my training at the age of five and from the age of seven I have been participating and performing at cultural events in school, college and festivals.
I teach music to people from the age of 7 and upwards from beginning to advanced level. I give both individual and group lesson. I conduct workshops in Indian culture and music. I train people to participate in community festivals, congregations and concerts. To support distance learning I also offer lessons through Skype.
Music has always been a lifelong passion. Music has fascinated me in the numerous ways it links with our life – its relaxing and therapeutic to the mind, songs associated with festivals and occasions, the seven notes bringing different styles and integrating people beyond boundaries. I was more attracted to the rich melody of carnatic ragas that evokes various emotions. The beautiful techniques in singing and voice culture give great scope for imagination and presentation. This motivated me to learn the art in depth and teach others.
I was in the school choir, orchestra and college brass band. I was a youth artist both at All India Radio and Chennai Doordharshan(TV).
From the age of fifteen I started to assist my grandmother by teaching veena and vocal to her students. I have lived in various countries like India, Libya, England and have been teaching and performing during festival occasions in a multicultural setting.
I have taught Indian folk and Bollywood dance to community groups including the Brownies group in Whitchurch, Bristol, the Brislington Neighbourhood Centre, and St. George’s Dragon’s After school club.
In Bristol I have performed at SGAP Mela, International Women’s Day held at Council House, at the Oxjam Music Festival at the Folk House, St. George’s Global Garden Party, St. Mary’s Redcliffe Church, the Bristol Hindu Mandir, Page Park during Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, Sanctum, Colston Hall Foyer and at Island Mela .
Outside Bristol I have performed at the Cardiff Millenium Stadium, South Wales, Bath Music Festival, Thyagaraja Aradhana at Birmingham and at the Indian Dance and Music Association (IDAMA) in Lincoln and Sri Sathya Sai Organisation, Leicester.
I trained a group of children from the City Academy, Bristol, to sing and play bhajans (devotional music) using western instruments to support their curriculum studies in other world music. Last year I trained a group of music oriented family and friends to perform at the Festival of songs held at St Georges organised by Gathering Voices and at the Bristol Multifaith Celebrations .
I performed bhajans for Swami B.S. Thirta Maharaj’s talk for the Gita Jayanthi festival at the Wembley Mandir, in London!
As a performer to commerate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Celebrations held at Page Park I sang and gave a veena recital showcasing different styles of Indian Music.