GURUKUL, a North-East Indian classical music centre, has been awarded a Northern Arts Lottery grant of £31,480 to help develop and expand its artistic programme in the region.

It was founded four years ago by a Gosforth GP and his wife, who is also a doctor.

Dr Anand (he prefers to use one name) said: "Indian music is about the development of the whole person, psychologically, emotionally and taking a spiritual path through music."

"All people who are able to express themselves in any field, whether it be Alan Shearer or Madonna, has the potential to heal themselves."

The project, based in Newcastle, aims to teach and produce North-East performing artists of Indian classical music. Ten vocational students will gain teaching apprenticeship and scores of regular students will have the chance to learn both vocal and instrumental music.

One of the future musical collaborations to materialise from Gurukul will be Gurujazz, in conjunction with Jazz Action, a development agency in Stockton.

The project will bring together the talents of three regional jazz artists: Lewis Watson (saxophonist, of Byker) Dave Borthwick (guitarist, of Byker) and Keith Peberdy (bass guitarist, of Redcar).

"Jazz has often been described as the sound of surprise," said Adrian Tilbrook, Jazz Development Officer - Jazz Action. "We are aiming to not only create surprising and stimulating music, but are seeking to explore new ways of interacting between musicians of differing musical styles and cultures."

l For further information about Gurukul and the musical apprenticeship scheme call 0191-213 0970.