Leela Floyd

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Leela Floyd (nee Charles)
Born Leela Charles
Occupation Writer and Musician
Nationality United Kingdom

Leela Floyd is the author of Indian Music (ISBN 0193213303), published by Oxford University Press in 1980.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Born in Singapore as Leela Charles, she went to school in India and the UK. In 1958, her parents took her on a journey across the world by car from Southern India to England. Hers was the first Indian family to have successfully completed this extraordinary adventure and a photograph of their arrival was printed in The Times of 2 August 1958.[3] She completed her schooling in London, where she was the first Indian pupil to attend Clapham County Grammar School.

Academic history[edit]

At sixteen, she began her studies at the Royal Academy of Music and graduated with an L.R.A.M., followed by a post graduate teaching qualification from Trent Park College, Middlesex. A few years later, she left for Southern India to study the Vina. When she returned to London, she won a Leverhulme Scholarship to conduct a survey of music in inner city schools based at the Institute of Education, University of London, under Professor Keith Swanwick; she was awarded an Associateship for her work.


During her time at the Academy, she met her first husband, the composer John Barham, through whom she met several important figures including George Harrison of the Beatles, Ravi Shankar, Ali Akbar Khan and others. For a brief period, she worked for Apple, transcribing pop records for the archives. With John Barham she transcribed Indian music into western notation, an example of which is published in Peggy Holroyde's book, Indian Music, A Vast Ocean of Promise.[4]

In 1982, she was employed as a music researcher on a series of innovative children's programmes on Channel 4 called Everybody Here, created by the children's poet laureate, Michael Rosen, and produced by Telekation International. She introduced several ethnic artists as well as authentic music into the soundtrack of the series.

She taught music for several years and has written for newspapers and magazines including the Times Educational Supplement, The Observer, ArtRage, and Yours magazine; she is a regular adjudicator at the Music For Youth festival in the UK.


The book Indian Music was commissioned by Oxford University Press in 1979, and was the first school textbook on Indian music published in the UK. It has been widely used all over the world, including the USA, Canada, Australia and Sweden. There is also an audiobook (ISBN 0193213400) published by Oxford University Press.[5]

Throughout her career as a lecturer, writer and researcher, Leela Floyd's main focus has been on bringing other cultures into mainstream education. She has contributed chapters to Music in Practice (edited by Paul Farmer), published in 1984 by Oxford University Press[6] and Pop, Rock and Ethnic Music (edited by Graham Vulliamy and Ed Lee) published in 1982 by Cambridge University Press.[7]

Family life[edit]

Leela Floyd is married to her husband Peter and has three sons.