The word "dhol" is probably of Persian origin
Enthusiastic, energetic and full of unplugged dhol power best describes the group of dhol players calling themselves the Midland Dhol Players. Based in Birmingham (UK), this team of talented players know what it feels like to play hard!
Playing the dhol, an instrument that dates back to the 15th century once used in war, and then to symbolise Punjabi folk culture and music from North India and Pakistan, needs stamina, dedication and an appetite for playing big loud beats!
The word “dhol” is probably of Persian origin, derived from the Persian “dohol” or “duhul”.
The dhol is a large, double-headed barrel drum which has a hard wooden shell as its body with skin membranes on either side. The dhol can be heavy to carry so some muscles are needed to wear it on your body!
It is suspended on the body from the shoulder and neck with a long strap, usually holding it up at a tilted angle. Hand co-ordination of two sticks produce the sounds with a mix of high tin like sounds at on end (treble) and a loud booming sounds (bass) at the other end.
Recently, at the Asian Bridal Fair at the Molineux in Wolverhampton, UK, the Midland Dhol Players gave the event a huge uplift with live performances. Their beats and rhythms played on their individual dhols in a completely united fashion showed their calibre as a team.
The venue rocked with the sounds of the drums, energising the crowds around them who cheered, whistled, clapped and danced to the beats. Enjoy their live performance in the DESIblitz video below.
The group has performed at many Asian weddings, shows and functions both in the UK and abroad.
Taking the traditional sound of the dhol with them wherever they have gone.
The group consists of five key members: Satnam Singh, who is the leader and teacher; Simon Pal, the dhol player with the hip bandana; Kiren, the female dhol player and youngest member of the team; PJ, the tallest dhol player and Makhan, the concluding dhol player of the group.
Simon manages the group and Satnam primarily teaches the dhol at classes held in Birmingham (UK) to all age groups. Dhol playing has usually been a male dominated arena but now is changing. Kiren, the female player is the newer member of the group and is fast becoming a strong part of the team.
DESIblitz interviewed the group to talk about their experiences as a band playing the dhol. Check out the interview in the video and gallery of photos below.
Here are photos of the Midlands Dhol players.