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Home Festival

The Dhol Foundation

Friday Night
Part of Home Festival 2012


The dhol is a drum from the Indian subcontinent, connected especially with the Punjab region, and among the Sikhs of East Punjab. It is very popular in modern Punjabi music.

Established in 1989 Johnny Kalsi heads the group, travelling around the world to promote the Dhol to the masses. Often headlining at major events and festivals such as WOMAD, Johnny has also played with a whole range of music groups, from the golden age of Bhangra, Alaap, to more collective groups such as Trans-Global Underground, Imagined Village and the Afro Celts.

The Dhol Foundation set out to really explore the capabilities and diverse range of music from various cultures around the world. This openness to other cultures sets the group apart from other dhol groups. This is, the unique sound of the Dhol Foundation and, the reason why the dhol has been exposed to cultures and countries where it has never been heard before…..TDF style! Rock, pop and electronic, drum and bass, classical elements it’s all in there.

Through Johnny Kalsi’s vast experience and knowledge of dhol and a whole array of percussion instruments he set out to create The Dhol Foundation to share and spread his love for the art. Before the creation of The Dhol Foundation there was no set methods of learning dhol, usually each master would have devised his/her own style and pass I on with no real written notes. The Dhol Syllabus was created by Johnny to simplify understanding of the dhol rhythm and to attain high standard of dhol practice. Johnny Kalsi’s intensive knowledge of music production and the processes involved has earned him great respect within the music and entertainment industry as well as educational institutes. This combination of skill and experience on the dhol and in the studio put him in a strong position to create the GCSE in dhol so that students can learn without any compromises and benefit from his wealth of knowledge.

This well established syllabus has been recognised by GCSE awarding bodies and as a result the dhol drum can be chosen as an instrument of choice. The full backing and support of TDF is given to those students who wish to study the instrument at GCSE level music.

Engaging, energetic, is just how they do it. The Dhol Foundation has featured and headlined at most major music events around the world wowing the crowds with their dynamic, thunderous beats. The musical influences are formed from a rich tapestry of culture and music from around the world, absorbing their culture, moving it to another part of the world; add their bit twist, and finally a bit of the TDF magic before powering it out through the muscle of the Dhol Foundation.

In 1991 Johnny Kalsi released his debut album in 2001 ‘Big Drum Small World’ . The album was recorded all around the world and his influences were drawn from the bands he had played with. Big Drum Small World was a storm for the global music scene. Johnny gained an immense amount of experience in the studios and his vision and pallet gave him the ability to create and write great music.

In 2004 he released ‘Drum-believable ‘ an eclectic mix of music from around the world, and in 2007, was the third installment from the power house, The Dhol Foundation titled ‘Drums & Roses ‘.

You can see the correlation in the names of the albums. We’ll leave it to you to guess the name of the Fourth album due for release mid 2010…..

We work in three core areas: Registered charity number: 279756