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Learning to play the Dhol - Diary/Write Up

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Universities Award Scheme Activity 1: Learning to play the Dhol - Diary/Write Up This opportunity arose from my work with the steering committee of the St. Albans Mela, which was formed to look at various aspects which we believed to help steer us towards having a Mela in St. Albans. The idea of a Mela in St. Albans is part of a larger project called Fuze which was also set up earlier this year (with lots of lottery funding!) to make people more culturally aware and to promote cultural diversity. As part of the project a music workshop called "Drumming Up A Storm" was set up, where young people could come along and learn how to play an instrument, the aim being that these young people would form their own band and play at the Mela. However, this unfortunately wasn't the case as we didn't have enough musical talent or time to sort out a band write a song or two............there just wasn't enough time. The eventuality was that the young people who attended these sessions would be part of an already established band or group and to the aid came S. W. Storm and his band Island Fury and Bee 2 from The Heritage of Punjab (a.k.a. T-HOP) to "Fuze" the Soca music from Storm's Band and mix it up with some Bhangra (namely the Dhol). I was going to learn the Dhol for two reasons, firstly, its something I've always wanted to do and secondly, my uncle's wedding is taking place at the end of August and I want to play there. So what is a Dhol? How do you play a dhol? Where does it come from? The "DHOL" is a traditional North Indian instrument made from a large barrel shaped wooden shell, with a special application on the inner surface- a mixture of tar, clay and sand (known as dholak mixture) ...read more.


thin stick? Bee2: This can be hard to get hold of. There are some materials that can be used in place of the original wood, which is in fact Cane. Lucky for the Dhol Foundation, we are endorsed by Jas Musicals and Made of Music so our sticks are the real thing and we have a regular supply. Most of the good shops that import the Dhols, should sell them. The normal price is around 50p and we wouldn't recommend you pay more than that. If you know anyone on a trip to India, the Desi (Asian) term for cane is "BAINTH". Me: Can I use anything in its place? Bee 2: Some people use Bamboo or the stuff their Mum might use from a garden centre, to stand her plants up. Both these type of sticks are too brittle and will not give you the flexibility you need to create certain sounds. If you're still stuck on what to use, you may want to find some wickers cane. That's the stuff they use to make furniture. If you don't have any joy there you could try old underground pipe cleaning rods. The old ones were all made from cane. Johnny (Bee 2's friend) has used fibreglass fishing rods for experimental purposes! Me: What can I do to improve my playing? The most important thing to remember is to always practice the beats you know already. When practicing, you will discover more variations on breaks and rhythms you can play. When doing a performance, you should never attempt new patterns your unsure of. Always make sure you keep you head above the water. If you attempt something you're still learning to play, the chances are you'll probably stumble. You will learn from your mistakes, but depending on situations you should get routine together and stick to that performance. That way you are sure of what you're playing and not waffling your way through. ...read more.


it - the group was split into 3, those who got it, those who could play the treble and those who could play the bass, There were plenty of people who knew how to play the treble and only a couple who could play the Double Dugan, however, this meant we were seriously lacking in the bass sides of things and me being me - I decided to be a bass person - which wasn't to difficult, all I had to do was bash the bass side as hard as I could in tune to the Double Dugan everyone else was trying to play! Easy stuff Took Dhol to my friends house to "mess around" we actually did something quite good but we forgot to record it! Well we spent most of today's session jus talking and not doing anything brilliant - done a little bit of practise. I think everyone's cool and relaxed about the Mela coming up. I missed Tuesday's session - too much homework!!! Only 1 week left Sunday - I missed Monday's session - decided to go bowling ended up at a friends house with Dhol jus "messing around" all night - Created some really good Bhangra Remixes Check out the tape! This is the last session ever before we play on stage at the Mela (although we agreed we'd meet on Friday 19th to have one final practise) The session went well we had a little warm up session then moved into the other hall to play with the rest of the group, the fusion between Socca and Bhangra sounds unbelievably quite good (Bhangra's better though!)!!! Can't wait for the Mela - sorted out clothes and stuff- hahaaa its going to be so much fun!!! Well unfortunately the Mela is happening this Sunday (21st July) and I can't finish off my report and enclose the photographs from the Mela but I have enclosed a tape so you can listen to some of the remixes me and my friends produced ...read more.

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