Also known as Bhai Ravi, Dr. Pt. Ravideen is an accomplished and highly educated musician, teacher, priest, and founder of the East Indian Music Academy. Dr. Pt. Ravideen’s extensive knowledge of both Indian and Western music enabled him to establish the East Indian Music Academy in New York with a mission of creating an awareness and an appreciation of authentic Indian music and culture and preserving these roots. He is skilled in vocal/harmonium, sitar, tabla, sarod, violin, sarangi, santoor, and basuri.
Born in Carolina Village, Trinidad, he is the fourth of nine sons of the late Pt. Sookdeo, a Ramayan singer, and Sookdiah Ramsamooj. Dr. Pt. Ravideen got his start teaching in schools in Trinidad with his Teacher’s Diploma in Music. In 1984, he left Trinidad for India to advance his studies. Dr. Pt. Ravideen earned a B.A. with Honors and an M.A. in Hindustani Music at Delhi University. In 2012, he completed his doctorial degree in Indian Classical Music under the guidance of Dr. Madhu Bhatt Tailang from Rajasthaan University, Jaipur. His years spent in India meeting with numerous talented musicians was one of the most memorable times in his life.
Dr. Pt. Ravideen has also been a religious pioneer throughout his life. He and his brother held the first Arya Vir Dal camp in Trinidad in 1976, starting a strong Vedic Hindu youth movement. He completed the three levels of the religious examination held by Veda Niketan of South Africa and was ordained as a Vedic Hindu Priest by the Arya Prathinidhi Sabha of Trinidad in 1989. In 1990, he joined the Arya Spiritual Center in New York as a music teacher and a priest.
Pandita Bharati Ramsamooj
Pta. Bharati Ramsamooj is the Principal of the East Indian Music Academy and a foremost Pandita with the Arya Spiritual Center in New York. She epitomizes a deep commitment to moral, spiritual, social, and cultural values. Pta. Bharati was born in Windsor Forest, West Coast Demerara, Guyana. She started singing Bhajans at Yajnas at the tender age of 6, the beginning of her career as a renowned singer. By age 10, she had completed the eighteen chapters of the Bhagwad Gita under the guidance of Shri Deonarineji. After graduating from the Indian Educational Trust College, she worked at Prasad’s Hospital. Pta. Bharati became very involved with the Arya Vir Dal where she participated in intensive seminars and camps. She also took part in radio programs on GBS and Radio Demerara. Pta. Bharati was considered the nightingale of Demerara.
In 1981, Pta. Bharati and Pt. Ravi got married and together they pursued studies in India. Pta. Bharati earned her B.A. in Hindi at Agra University and a Diploma in Hindi from Delhi University. She also attended Shri Ram Bharatiya Kalakendra where she studied light music under the distinguished Shelly Dutta. With her high musical, academic, and religious caliber, Pta. Bharati continues to be a strong leader and role model in the community.
Avirodh Sharma Ramsamooj
An EIMA teacher for 23 years, Avirodh Sharma is one of the nation's leading tabla players propagating the tradition of rhythm. Trinidadian-born, Avi was trained by his parents, Pt. Ravideen and Pta. Bharati. A multifaceted and highly accomplished artist, composer, and producer, Avirodh Sharma’s work has been featured in films, TV, and radio and he has collaborated with various artists such as Karsh Kale and David Parsons. Not only was Avi’s 2015 album “Melodic Intersect - Inner Vision” nominated for the Independent Music Awards for “Best World Beat Album” but his follow-up 2017 album “Melodic Intersect - Looking Forward” also charted 8 weeks at #1 on the World Music Charts. Internationally acclaimed, Avi's performances have captivated audiences across Europe, South Asia, the Caribbean, and Dominican Republic, Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and the United States. In January 2019, he performed at the world’s biggest religious festival, Kumbh Mela in India.
Diana has studied music for over 15 years and she loves to sing. Her most challenging instrument is the sitar. Diana has her Masters Degree in Elementary Education and has 15+ years of experience working with children. During the summer she leads Vir Dal Camp (youth leadership training) at her mandir and once a month she leads a youth forum. One of her favorite quotes is "The woman I was yesterday introduced me to the woman I am today; which makes me excited about meeting the woman I will become tomorrow.”
Padmini (Karen) Persaud
Padmini has been a part of EIMA for 21 years, singing and playing harmonium and now practicing sitar too. She loves working with children and she enjoys her role in getting EIMA students to participate in community events. One of Padmini’s main goals is to continue giving back to the community, utilizing both her professional and spiritual/musical background. She attends functions at various mandirs and volunteers for fundraising and youth support. Padmini holds a Doctorate Degree in Pharmacy and she is currently working as a Staff Pharmacist in New Jersey. Padmini lives by the Mother Teresa quote, "Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier."
A close friend once told Kavish, “in order to tell you about myself, I have to figure out who I want to be,” and Kavish has big dreams. He loves to teach at EIMA because he believes that as the new generation takes the reins, East Indian music is needed to remind all of us of our roots, through our history and our cultural identity. Kavish has been playing music since he was six, training with his gurus at EIMA and also at other musical institutions. It’s become his passion to spread light and music into the universe with his talent. He doesn’t have a favorite instrument because he loves all the instruments equally and they have each been a part of him in their own unique way. Kavish is currently studying health science at York College in hopes of becoming a nurse.
Yogini has been playing harmonium for 12 years and sitar, her favorite instrument, for 7 years. She is a sophomore on the Physician’s Assistant track at Hunter College. In her free time, she volunteers at a hospital and also likes to read. Her favorite quote is by one of her favorite authors JK Rowling— "We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already".
Matthew has been learning and practicing tabla for about 10 years and harmonium for 6 years. He says it’s an honor and privilege to pass on what he’s been taught to his students. Along with music, he is passionate about cars. Matthew is also a student at Adelphi University aspiring to become a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner.
Deepak Suraj Chankarsingh
Deepak was born on February 25, 2001 and has been involved with EIMA most of his life. At the age 6, he started harmonium classes and at the age 10, he started learning tabla, which is now his favorite instrument. Deepak was playing in mandirs and at pujas and graduations by then. Deepak has had the opportunity to perform at various venues throughout New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Trinidad & Tobago, including the Trinidad & Tobago Consulate and LeFrak Concert Hall at Queens College. His favorite quote is, "The most exciting rhythms seem unexpected and complex, the most beautiful melodies simple and inevitable" by W.H. Auden. Deepak is currently a Senior at Forest Hills High School and aspires to pursue a career in mechanical engineering.