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The thunderous rhythms of the traditional Indian Dhol drums will be shaking the walls of the Ulster Hall on Sunday November 10th at 8pm as ArtsEkta brings ‘The Dhol Foundation’ to Belfast as the highpoint of the city’s Diwali celebrations.

Diwali which means ‘rows of lighted lamps’ is perhaps the most well-known of the Hindu festivals, popularly known as the ‘festival of lights’ because, in India, houses, shops and public places are decorated for the season with small earthenware oil lamps called diyas. The festival honours Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and this year ArtsEkta, Northern Ireland’s leading ethnic arts organization, is marking Diwali with a concert sharing the riches of India’s musical heritage with local audiences.

It will be an experience to rock the city. Master Dhol drummer, Artistic Director and Music Producer Johnny Kalsi is the UK’s most celebrated player of the dhol, the twin-skinned Punjabi drum. In recent years the dhol has increasingly been heard in the company of WOMAD-friendly artists like the Afro Celts and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan; on the records of more unusual suspects such as Avril Lavigne and Nelly Furtado; on the soundtracks of Hollywood blockbusters (‘Tomorrow Never Dies’, ‘Gangs Of New York’, ‘The Incredible Hulk’), and, memorably, in the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics.

Kalsi’s Dhol Foundation delivers a distinctive – not to say amazingly loud! – wall of sound at its live performances, making this the Anglo-Asian equivalent of a Brazilian samba school!

Announcing details of the gig, Nisha Tandon of ArtsEkta said, “We think it’s important to show that culture and arts can be authentic without necessarily being locked in the past, so we are delighted to be presenting world class musicians who take the traditional and make it totally, thrillingly contemporary. Their dhol drumming is set to stir the souls of both traditionalists and the new wave of world music fans, generating the high energy celebration which is associated with the vibrancy of Indian festivals.”

ArtsEkta trustee, Mukesh Sharma, who is himself an accomplished dhol drummer, is proud to be bringing world-leading exponents of the art to Northern Ireland. He says, “It is always wonderful to share personal enthusiasms with friends and I am confident that the dhol drum will generate huge interest and acquire new fans as a result of this spectacular musical event.

“There is fantastic drumming within both the Irish and Ulster Scots traditions and I know that many local musicians and music fans will be eager to hear drummers from another part of the world. Music is made to share and enjoy together and what better opportunity than Diwali?’

The Dhol Foundation with supporting acts and all the lights and sparkle you’d expect for Diwali will be at The Ulster Hall, Belfast at 8.00pm on Sunday 10 November 2013.

In keeping with the ArtsEkta policy of ensuring its events and activities are accessible to all, and due to the support of our generous funders limited free tickets can be booked at www.artsekta.org.uk . Strictly over 16s for standing tickets, and under 14s must be accompanied by an adult for (limited) seated tickets in The Ulster Hall gallery. This event is not suitable for young children.

‘The Dhol Foundation & Support’ concert is supported by Belfast City Council’s Community Festival Fund.

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