The Dhol Foundation

UK / India

Here come the drums

There are certain musical instruments that, when mentioned, conjure up an image of just one person in particular. The sitar? Ravi Shankar. The cello? Jacqueline du Pre. The dhol, the double-sided barrel drum from Punjab? That’ll be one Johnny Kalsi.

For several decades now, Johnny has been the foremost proponent of this fearsome, thunderous instrument. He first came to attention as the lead percussionist in bhangra pioneers Alaap, before moving on to work with Transglobal Underground and subsequently becoming a key member of the Afro Celt Sound System. Throughout that time he’s also been the leader of the Dhol Foundation, the outfit who refresh the parts other drum troupes can’t reach. And while their roots might be in bhangra, their live sets are nothing short of a globetrotting tour of duty, bouncing between India, Africa and Ireland –and many points in between.