A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed, and is, thereby, a true manifestation of what one feels about life in it's entirety. . . I believe in photography as one means of achieving an ultimate happiness and faith! - Ansel Adams

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Musical Bands of Mumbai 1 – the Dhol-tasha band

Young boy playing cymbals
The arrival of the month of August heralds a long period of celebration for the majority of Indians. Starting with the Parsi New Year and ending with Christmas, it encompasses diverse festivals like Onam, Janamashthami, Ganesh Chaturthi, Paryushana, Eid, Navratri, Dussehra, and Diwali. It is the season of revelry, food (read sweets), music, penance, et al. In this and subsequent posts, I am sharing with you the images of people who get us swinging to their distinctly folksy beats during these festivals - the musical bands. Our first band is Maharashtra's famed Dhol-Tasha band.

If during a festival in Maharashtra you have heard the drums roll, clatter and create a deep resounding sound, then in all probability you have heard the dhol-tasha band play. As the name suggests, the band members play an assortment of drums (large and small) along with hand cymbals to create various taal (rhythm) synchronisations. The group members (more than 10 in number) are both young and old and sometimes also include children. Of late even women have started joining these bands (that should impress the women's rights groups)! During the Ganesh Chaturthi festival one gets to see the best of these groups. They typically rehearse for months and develop new taals to be in the reckoning of the large Ganesh mandals who hire them for the processions.

For a slide show of complete set of pictures of the Dhol-Tasha Band, please click HERE.

The mandali

There's an amazing amount of energy that they bring to this art form which is not seen in other traditional bands. During the processions they would halt a while and dance as they play music, raising the crescendo and pitch with every passing moment. The drums beating in unison and the clanging of cymbals have an earthy feel to it. It is also highly infectious. If you happen to be standing anywhere nearby, your feet would begin stamping without you even realising!

Electrifying to the core...

These people are quite jovial and give cheerful expressions upon spotting a camera.

In the next post I will share with you images of the great Indian Brass band (brought back into the limelight by Amit Trivedi in Dev D.) and also a Western version of it.

Till then...its goodbye!


magiceye said...

lovely captures!

The Legend Returns said...

Thanks Deepak :)

joshi daniel said...

nice documentary!

The Legend Returns said...

Thanks Daniel :)

Anonymous said...


Congratulations for your blog!
Visit the Zabumblog - www.zabumblog.blogspot.com - if you want to see the zabumba drum, a instrument very similar to dhol drum!

Rafael Baby

Spokane tim jones said...

It's always refreshing to be able to know different cultures and their types of music. It's also very colorful.

Tim Jones

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