The Dhol Foundation
The Dhol Foundation are a UK based collective, founded by charismatic Master Drummer Johnny Kalsi. For over 20 years, they have been showcasing the thunderous rhythm of the Dhol to audiences across the world. Whether on a festival stage or venue, the group have become well known for their joyous, high energy performances. Their music has also been featured in Hollywood films such as Gangs of New York and The Incredible Hulk.
In 1989 while Johnny Kalsi was touring the the Bhangra supergroup Alaap playing the
Dhol Drum, he made a name for himself and people began to recognise Kalsi for his unique
style of “Modern” Dhol Drumming.
Starting a class in Slough. He soon found himself among a whirlwind of wannabe Dhol
drummers, all eager to learn and go on to become teachers. The school really was the
foundation for the this amazing instrument that gave his students the Inspiration & knowledge
for a platform to start their own classes.
In 1989, Johnny was touring with the Bhangra Supergroup Alaap, in 1995 he switched
to crossover bands like, Asian Dub Foundation, Trans-Global Underground and
Fun^Da^Mental that he was asked to join Womad in Caceras to conduct a Dhol drumming
workshop. It was during this time that things took a bigger spin and The Dhol Foundation
had their first taste of a MainStage. From there, Kalsi began to produce music for for their
In 2001 Big Drum Small World was released and the final track on the album made the
Hollywood movie, Gangs of New York. Fast forward to 2017 5 albums and 8 Royal
engagements later, The Dhol Foundation are the choice of the Royal Commonwealth for
fanfares and openings for prestigious events.
Their latest Album Basant was released in 2017 and features the Grammy Award
Winning vocalist from Benin, Angelique Kidjo. A new album is in the making for 2023, TDF
are busy with a full band, including Bhangra dancers. They also have a DJ set with live
musicians and for the weddings and fanfares they do performances with the Dhol drummers
“Johnny Kalsi has done for the Dhol, what Jimmy Hendrix did for the guitar” – Eastern Eye
“Johnny Kalsi is Britain’s finest exponent of the dhol, the thundering Punjabi double-sided barrel drum. It provides the beat for bhangra, but Kalsi has shown how it can be used in experimental fusion styles through his work with Transglobal Underground and Afro Celt Sound System” – The Guardian