Marian Poole, Piano Teacher and Music Critic.

Dhol Foundation at the Regent 8.10.10.

Well Doh!

Compelling rhythm, enthusiastic joyful bopping, enough confidence to throw a stick at, lots of smiles all great, but give me Samoan or African or Japanese rhythmic polyphony, counter rhythms and patterns, choreography and variety any day.

It was great, it was energetic, exhilarating, explosive, thunderous and infectious and a killer combination of techno-funk and the crowd, or at least that portion of it on their feet had an orgiastic ball. They would doubtless have even more promotional adjectives to throw into the ring. However getting a full-bodied applause from the audience proved to be an ongoing task for the purportedly charismatic leader Johnny Kalsi. It was great to hear the mix of drum and bass with a range of other musical languages. It was also great to hear the fine voice of lead guest singer and to watch the technique of the double-sided dhol drum.

The problem, or rather problems, included a disappointing lack of equal noise and time given to the various other genres. The celtic pipes and dhembi for example, got to influence little more than the introduction to yet more drumming. And yes the drumming was good, but there seemed to be only one rhythm and with the group playing in unison, only one volume. Pity. If the accompaniment to Punjabi work songs or to the call-to-war and the drummed communications between far-flung villages do have more than one pattern ‐ and it’s hard to imagine that they wouldn’t – then Dhol dumbed them down. And one more gripe: someone should tell such groups that Dunedin people don’t actually feel like Scots anymore. If it ever was entirely true it’s a long time ago now.

Sorry guys.