Dhol Foundation



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The Dhol Foundation bandLed by the irrepressible Johnny Kalsi, Dhol Drummer with The Afro Celts, this show features an array of musical styles, Drum and Bass, Tabla, Hip Hop, Bhangra…. all delivered with great theatre and with more than a bit of Celtic influence doubtless gained from Johnny’s work with the Afro Celts. 


Johnny's other involvements and collaborations throughout the years also include The Asian Dub Foundation and Fun Da Mental


Traditionally during the start of the summer the people would celebrate a good harvest by dancing and singing songs to the sound of the Dhol and the Tumbi, meaning king, a single instrument plucked and fingered at the neck. The songs would also include the descriptive lyrics that would reflect on the dance.

Actions were taken from the villagers tending the crops, mimicking the same motions they would do in the field like cutting the corn of sewing seeds. The lyrics were about getting drunk, being very merry and general socialising.

Food would also play a major part in the celebration, this dance form became the traditional roots on folk dance in the Punjabi...............Bhangra was born.

The Dhol is a traditional North Indian instrument made from a large wooden shell. It has two skins on either side which are made from goat hide. Rope is then woven through the edge of both the skins and they are tensioned to produce a bass and treble sound. It is extremely loud and is played with sticks made from cane.

Long ago during the time of the Mogul empire in the late 16th century a primitive form of the Dhol was played at war called a Nagra. These were equivalent to side drummers in the British battalions. It was just as loud but only one sided. Before the privilege of telephones, the Dhol was used by town criers to drum up crowds, read out notices or make formal announcements.

Punjab means land of five rivers as it has five rivers running through it, the soil is very fertile. This enabled settlers to become land owners and farmers.

Now the Dhol has become the identity India with the immense power and force. Taken Dhol to the wider world is mission of The Dhol Foundation.

Johnny and his band (around 10 musicians) are always pleased to do percussion workshops around their shows.





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Last modified: 02/23/11