The Dhol

The Folk Instrument of Punjab

We hope that all of you know about the dhol, that lovable cuddly little red wolf-like creature … oops, it seems that we picked the wrong dhol. This is what happens when you have too many homonyms in one place!

The Dhol. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Going on to more serious matters, let’s talk about the real dhol. ‘Door ke dhol suhaney’ (Faraway dhols sound better, the equivalent of ‘The grass is greener on the other side’), a common Urdu proverb, often resonates in our minds while we delve into the history and current situation of the dhol. Even though this lively instrument is present at nearly every other street corner in Lahore, a deeper look reveals how it is a prime example of how traditional folk music has drastically declined. Many traditional rhythms have simply vanished, and many dholchis, or dhol players, are now struggling to provide for themselves on both sides of the border.

However, as we have often said in the past, do not lose hope! The dhol still lives, and is in fact thriving around the world. Various people, both around the world and in Pakistan, are taking interest in this folk instrument, and we sincerely hope that it will continue to prosper.

And finally, to brighten up your day, here’s a video of a dhol performance, recorded by yours truly. Listen to the repetitive yet surprisingly catchy rhythm of the dhol, intelligently distributed between the bass and treble drums: a sure entertainer!

Save the Sitar is a website dedicated to promoting and preserving Pakistan’s classical music. Join our growing community to help further our cause!

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