Posts Tagged ‘Johnny Kalsi’

Hampshire Welcomes the World

June 23, 2012
The Dhol Foundation

The Dhol Foundation

free event at farnborough hangar today Keith, set up between Hampshire Music Service and us. Come say hello if you’re free. 11-6 — West End Centre

I only found out about this mid-afternoon, when I got a tweet from the West End Centre in Aldershot telling me what was on that afternoon, and that was only in response to a query from me to something they had sent out the previous day.

I had to go out, got back, grabbed very late lunch, then headed off to where I thought it was located.

I ignored the sign that told me that was not the way in, prepared to climb over, crawl under or negotiate my way around any obstruction on the way. There was none.

Basically I followed the sound and arrived for the last ten minutes. They overran, so maybe I caught 20 minutes.

The location was iconic, an old airship hanger on the site that was the once famous Royal Aircraft Establishment, though sadly long gone.

A cluster of people at the far end. There seemed to be more security lurking around than people.

But even the cluster of people was misleading as they were forming a small group in front of an open space, not filling it as looked from the distance.

I caught the end of the headline act The Dhol Foundation and they were good. Probably sound better live than on CD. A group of mainly drummers, and as I learnt when I talked with them later, drawn from Birmingham and London.

Again Again by Michael McGoldrick. Think fusion Bhangra-dhol-River-Dance and you get the idea.

They had to finish at 6pm, orders from the Council due to noise nuisance.

Get real! They were playing alongside Farnborough Airport with business jets taking off and landing. An airport that day in day out is a misery for local residents.

A cultural event in Farnborough is a once in a decade opportunity as it is a cultural wasteland. A land of Philistines. A world music event a once in a lifetime opportunity!

All the more the pity the zilch publicity.

I had received a tweet the previous evening:

…and don’t forget farnborough event tomorrow either…

What Farnborough event was my thought, because as already noted Farnborough is a cultural wasteland.

I had no idea what was the Farnborough Hanger. I assumed the old airship hanger. Fortunately my assumption proved correct.

Better and more effective use needs to be made of social media.

A pity the event had such poor publicity and was as a consequence poorly attended as it was worth attending. My only regret was that I had not got there earlier.

Talking to The Dhol Foundation I picked up their album Drum Struck (their fourth album). They gave me their website and said they were on bandcamp.

I have looked and cannot find them on bandcamp. A pity as they deserve to reach a much wider audience. An oversight I trust they will rectify and upload their albums.

Officially released in 2005, 200 pre-release ‘festival edition’ copies of the album Drum-Believable were available for those who attended Womad Reading in 2004 as a festival edition. These are rare collectors albums.

The Dhol Foundation, a London collective, is both a dhol drum institute in London and a musical group playing bhangra music. The dhol school was founded in 1989 by former Alaap member Johnny Kalsi  (one of the guys I was talking to) when several musicians asked him to be their teacher, and a first album was released by Kalsi and his students in 2001.

Dhol drums are a traditional percussion instrument from the Punjab province in the north of India, from which Kalsi originates. In London he experimented with dance beats and electronic music, which he mixes with the traditional bhangra style in his albums.

They have had their music in Hollywood films such as Gangs of New York and Incredible Hulk, and  also have done work on soundtracks with Peter Gabriel on films such as Rabbit-Proof Fence and The Last Temptation of Christ. They opened the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne in 2006.

The event was co-hosted by the West End Centre and Hampshire Music Service. Neither organisation had information available, though may have had earlier.

Looking at the programme pinned up, there appeared to have been music workshops earlier.

The West End Centre is a cultural space in Aldershot, an oasis in an otherwise cultural wasteland.

Synchronicity: At the end of the world music festival I had an interesting conversation on culture, Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho and German rock group the Scorpions, with who I assumed was one of the organisers. She said the world needed more love. I received a tweet that evening from Paulo Coelho that love was highly addictive!


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