World Heart Beat

World Heart Beat Online

World Heart Beat is launching its free online music programme, World Heart Beat Online – four curated music courses honouring South Asian and Latin American music and their communities.

The programme will be available to all young people (aged 7 – 20yrs+) with tuition and instruments (plus devices if needed) provided for free.

Latin American online music courses  

  • 5-week ‘Introduction to Latin Music’ online course led by Pepe Barcellos, a Brazilian educator and music composer. The course is free, and ideally for those aged 7-12 yrs. Pepe’s interactive classes honour Latin music by teaching some of the rhythms, sounds and instruments from Latin America as well as how to play them. Lessons will be 45 mins long and will take place outside school hours. The course will start as soon as enough participants register! Start date TBC
  • 8-week Caipira course (Brazilian 10-stringed guitar) led by Brazilian singer-songwriter Aleh Ferreira for 16 young people, aged 12+yrs. Content to include basics of the caipira and students to play one piece by the end of the course.

South Asian online music courses

  • 5-week ‘Introduction to South Asian music’ led by Alok Verma, for 20 people, aged 7-12 yrs. Content to include learning Teentaal and aesthetics of South Asian percussion along with two different time signatures and one raaga, Bhoopali with some scales.
  • 8-week Sitar course (plucked string instrument) led by Jonathan Mayer for 16 young people, aged 12+yrs. Content to include basics of the sitar, learning about raagas and playing one piece by the end of the course. 

About the teachers

Pepe Barcellos – Brazilian educator and music composer

Guitarist, composer, percussionist, and educator from Rio de Janeiro, Pepe Barcellos has taught at The British School, and Escola Americana do Rio de Janeiro. In Atlanta since January 2019, Barcellos has been a Ph.D. student in Teaching and Learning at Georgia State University, where he has been developing his career as a researcher, contributing to studies on creativity, student voice, and non-traditional course offerings in secondary school. He is also an MYP music teacher at Atlanta International School. 

In 2017, Barcellos collaborated with World Heat Beat Music Academy leading a Flash mob at the Southside shopping mall in Wandsworth. He performed at the House of Commons, The All-England’s Tennis Club, and the Brazilian Embassy in London in previous years. He has released two albums of original songs and has performed with Monobloco and Dread Lion in Brazil. For 15 years, Barcellos has traveled the world leading Brazilian guitar and percussion workshops and has facilitated innovative and interactive experiences for his students.

Almir Pessoa – Caipirist 

Almir Pessoa is a singer, composer and Caipira player (Violero). His professional career debuted in 2002, when he premiered his show “Viola na arena”, which earned him the nickname of “O Violeiro do Brasil”. His style mixes country music, MPB and country. He represented the State of Goiás in the cultural events of the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016. 

He was the first Brazilian to sing inside the English Parliament Hall at the invitation of Baroness Floella Benjamin. In addition to his work as an artist, he directs IVAP (Instituto de Viola Almir Pessoa), where he is responsible for the musical training of dozens of guitar players in the city of Goiânia.

His music brought him to travel all around Brazil and Europe, especially France, Belgium, England, Germany, Switzerland, Portugal, many more. He gave the first country guitar course outside Brazil, in London in 2017, at World Heart Beat Academy. He signed the guitar Rozini model Almir Pessoa, launched in London in April 2017 and in Brazil in July of the same year. He released three albums, “Almir Pessoa – Voz e Viola”, “Almir Pessoa – O Violeiro do Brasil, vol. 1”, and “Almir Pessoa – O Violeiro do Brasil- live.” 

Alok Verma – Tabla teacher

With a strong musical influence from his parents, Alok started learning Tabla from the age of seven. In 1998 he won the Classical Tabla Solo competition at national level in India. He had his first public performance with his mother and by 13, he was working with All India Radio on numerous recordings. 

He has performed with a number of artists including Ian Anderson, Jethro Tull, Boris Grebenshikov, Dr L Subramanium, Kavita Krishnamoorthy, Harharan, to name a few. 

His inspirations vary a lot from Ustaad Zakir Hussain to Hidalgo Giovanni to Buddy Rich. Alok has performed all over the world in various countries like France, Italy, Mexico, Sweden, Portugal, Greece, UAE, Ukraine, Belarus, Armenia, Morocco, Belgium, Russia, Germany, India, Spain, Switzerland, Singapore, Zimbabwe, United States of America! 

He has played on many albums across the globe with different producers and singers. He also produces own music and beats. Avartan and Aura are the two albums which were the highlight of 2019. 

Alok Verma is a master teacher, teaching tabla to young people at World Heart Beat music academy.  

Jonathan Mayer – Sitarist

Son of the late Kolkata composer John Mayer, Jonathan began his musical training at the early age of five with violin from his grandfather Albert Hepton, piano from James Methuen-Campbell and composition from his father.  

At the age of 16 he started his sitar training under the western sitarist Clem Alford who was a disciple of Sachindra Nath Saha from the Senia gharana. In 1993 Jonathan began studying composition from Andrew Downes as well as sitar at the Birmingham Conservatoire where he gained a B.Mus (Hons).  

After graduating he studied Imdadkhani gharana technical proficiency under Ustad Wajahat Khan and finally settled in to the Senia veen-kar Gharana under the extremely knowledgeable maestro the late Pandit Subroto Roy Chowdhury. 

Jonathan has performed all over the world including France, Germany, Russia, United Arab Emirates, USA, Australia, America, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and two very successful tours in India which includes a performance at The Dover Lane Music Conference as well as a number of performances for the BBC in the UK. 

FREE Instrument provision   

For the Introductory classes, general household items in the home, for example, pots and pans can be used to create sounds and rhythms. 

For the more specialist Caipira and Sitar classes, instruments will be loaned free of charge.

All computers/devices (if needed) will be loaned free of charge.

Music Concert and Performance

On completion of the programme, World Heart Beat will invite participants to take part in a live music concert alongside World Heart Beat students to showcase to the local community.  

Advanced students enrolled in World Heart Beat’s Music Leadership programme will provide 1:1 support to help young people with their music learning.

The Arts Council National Lottery Project Grants

The project is funded by The Arts Council National Lottery Project Grants which helps support thousands of individual artists, community and cultural organisations – thank you for your continued support!


If you are interested in taking part in World Heart Beat Online, please email with your name, age, level of experience (all levels welcome), preferred course and any other relevant details.

We look forward to welcoming you!

World Heart Beat uses the power of music to inspire, bring people together and make a positive impact

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