Before becoming a disciple of Ustad Vilayat Khan Dharambir Singh was fortunate to have his initial guidance from Professor Sita Ram of Amritsar in Punjab, India. He then moved on to be introduced to the Gayaki (vocalised) style of Sitar playing by Professor Narinder Nirula of Patiala in Punjab. Nirula – a leading disciple of Ustad Vilayat Khan – has a unique style of playing the Sitar using strong Punjabi cultural influences.
Dharambir was guided by his uncle Sardar Avtar Singh, an eminent tabla player and disciple of Harbhajan Lal and Pandit Shamta Prashad of Benares. Avtar Singh was instrumental in introducing Dharambir to many prominent musicians and also giving him initial musical guidance. It was the blessings and the love of Satguru Jagjit Singh, the spiritual master of the Namdhari Sikh sect that Dharambir was introduced to Ustad Vilayat Khan. Satguru Ji has been one of the most important catalysts to have given Dharambir a strong spiritual persona and karma.
Ustad Vilayat Khan Sahib generously provided access to the rich musical style of the Imdad Khani Gharana. Dharambir was showered wth love and guidance from the teacher and as a result of his dedication and the blessings of the masters he was invited for Ganda Bandhan (traditional initiation ceremony) in Bombay in 1979.
Dharambir moved to England in 1979 and has since been performing, teaching, advising, organising, mentoring, composing and passionately laying a strong foundation for Indian classical music in England. He travels widely and performed in major festivals in England, Spain, Germany and Italy, and has also performed in Canada and USA working extensively with the Euro Asian Fusion group Shiva Nova.
Dharambir’s work with the eminent British saxophonist Martin Speake resulted in the release of a critically acclaimed CD Journey. His work with the Free Spirits Jazz Ensemble was awarded by the Jazz Uk.
Dharambir’s reputation as an educator began to develop when started teaching for the Leicester Music Service in 1983. He was employed by the Leeds College Of Music as a lecturer and the Artistic Director for Leeds Centre For Indian Music and Dance. Dharambir has initiated numerous innovative projects across the country and is well known for the International Summer Schools in Indian Music. He has many students of Sitar all over the country and makes regular trips to other cities to teach.