Dhol Player: A Must Have at your Indian Wedding
Updated: Dec 7, 2019
Everyday across America, newly engaged South Asian and Indian couples debate hiring a dhol player at your wedding. So I put this guide together to assist you and answer some questions by interviewing a couple of Dhol players.
Should you have someone play a live Dhol at your Indian wedding? Yes, you definitely should. Unless you don't plan to have any dancing during your wedding, a dhol in the United States has come to be the X factor your friends and colleagues remember the most from the party.
Why You Need a Dhol playing at your Wedding
For multi-cultural Indian weddings where a lot of non Indian guests attend (e.g. Any Indian wedding in America or Canada or Australia), it will be GUARANTEED to be one of the highlights and unique experiences your guests will remember.
How many weddings have your colleagues at Deloitte or Accenture been to where a guy started busting out a live drum to the middle of a Drake song that then morphed into Bhangra?
Here's my brother's wedding where we surprised him by having my friend/employee Vinay hide behind the stage and then jump out with the Dhol. Notice the energy switch from *another dance* to *whoa!* (humble brag).
What Events Do You need a Dhol Player for?
- Baraat (most obvious)
- Sangeet (when people dance or during a performance)
- Wedding Reception (during dancing)
You don't need a dhol at all during the wedding ceremony once the baraat is over.
What are the latest Dhol Trends in the Industry?
Lots of trends are changing the Indian wedding industry in 2019.
Even western weddings are now wearing Indian fashions like Sabysachi and having Indian food. That being said, no tradition has also become the biggest tred than the excitement of a live Dhol player (also called dholi) throughout the Indian wedding festivities.
If you still want to know why you should have a dhol player and what different types of things they can do, I'm taking advice of Malinder Tooray and Vinay Sharma, a special Dhol expert in the Los Angeles area who both also happen to be a part of our employee family. Vinay and I have even done many gigs together! Dhol and a DJ is your winning combo!
What does a Dhol do at a wedding a standard DJ may not?
Malinder: A dhol player is literally one of those "OMG" moments, especially when it's a surprise. To start, a dhol drum is exactly that, a big drum that kicks off some dhol beats. In a simpified english lingo we're a wedding drummer. In Punjabi culture it's "bhangra dhol."
Often times we're hired to come in during the groom's entrance or a surprise entrance during the dances or with the DJ. Imagine if you were dancing at a club and when that hot Usher song came up, a violinist just came on and started jamming to the harmony. The dhol player has a similar effect but more to get you shaking on the dance floor. It's so fun.
Check out Malinder, our resident amazing Los Angeles Dhol Player and celebrity helping BFunkBeats get to 1M subscribers!
What's the "must-have-dhol" event at a wedding? The Baraat?
Vinay: Of course. One of the things we always see is people who say "I don't want a dhol, it's always at a wedding" and then the morning of their baraat they ask us to come at the last minute. Book your dhol player! I've never once had a client say they regret having one but heard at least 20 weddings say "I dunno the baraat felt a little bland."
Do you get tired playing it?
Malinder: We do fun stuff now to keep us on our toes.
I partner with people and the internet has opened up a whole new avenue to work with this talent. I think we're just getting started to be honest and your'e going to see truly famous Dhol players stand on their own soon as the music gets fused together.
I did the video above with BFunkDance and folks like Neil Desai work with Snoop Dogg and others. You're gonna see a lot more Dhol, because America and Hollywood are about to become Dhol nation!
Any fun stories from the field?
Vinay: I had a drunk guy sit on my Dhol recently. I just kept playing and the crowd went wild. Luckily I could support him lol.
What makes a good Dhol player?
Malinder: Attitude and keeping up to date with music.
A lot of Dhol players, especially the ones in India and Thailand just like playing their safe 8 beats, getting their money and leaving. But now you can make killer videos on YouTube, mix it with songs both old people and young people like, dance around, and you have to do all that with a kickass smile on your face. Embrace it, because more often than not you can be the life of the party!
Vinay: Couldn't agree more. And make sure you stay hydrated.
1. How Much is a Dhol Player? Usually they charge about $500 to $750 per 2 hours of playing time, or you work out a package for the full weekend. Many of them will also go play with you at your after parties until 1-2am.
2. Should I have my friend play Dhol? This is similar to should I have my friend EMCEE my wedding. Would you want them to enjoy themselves or would you want them to play? If they don't mind, yes, of course please have them do it instead!
3. What are the differences in dhol players in America and India? Most dhol players in the US grew up here, and they do this part-time. Most dhol players in India are part of a big wedding team, and likely do a wedding every day. They will also harass you for tips which is very common! (but if you're having a good time, feel free to tip them)
Questions? email us for a free 10-minute ASK US ANYTHING ABOUT INDIAN WEDDINGS consultation, even if you live in America or not.