PLAYING tabla at the Gurdwara regularly from the age of eight firmly connected Amandip Bahia to music, and this in turn led him towards learning the dhol at 12 from a leading maestro based in Wolverhampton.
He was taught in such an immersive way that it developed a lifelong love for the instrument and helped him to form acclaimed group Dhol Frequency.
The talented musician has balanced incredible live performances with teaching dhol and outreach work with the youth. Dhol Frequency will be one of the headline acts at this year’s Newham Under The Stars event at Central Park in East Ham on August 17.
Eastern Eye caught up with Amandip Bahia to find out more about his connection to the popular instrument, his outreach work and more…
What is it about the dhol you love most?
I love the sound of the dhol and how the high energetic beats make the crowds insane. The instrument is able to create such a wide array of sounds and all have an uplifting effect. The buzz it generates while performing live is amazing.
What have been your most memorable musical moments?
The whole journey has been so memorable with so many highlights. Performing with Gurpreet Ghuggu at a high profile event at the beginning. This was followed by great moments like being part of teams that helped King G Mall break Guinness Book Of World Records.
Other highlights include performing at the first Brit Asia Music Awards alongside Roach Killa, reaching the final of the competition Dholi’s Got Talent, performing for the great Gurdas Maan jee, and at Jimmy Shergill’s UK film press conference.
Who has been the most interesting person you have met on your journey?
I have been blessed to have met many people on this amazing journey, including DJ Bally K, who taught me so much in the 15 years I played dhol with him on stage.
Of course, King Gurcharan Mall, who is so inspirational and always thinking big. I have done some great work with the famous Heera Dancers from Wolverhampton. Then there is the hit-maker PBN, who I’ve been playing dhol with since 2001 and featured in so many of his smash hit music videos.
Tell us about Dhol Frequency…
There are six members who I have taught from day one and given guidance to. Taran, Navin, Sunil, Akash, Parabjot and Aaron are still young and learning, but have a very big part to play in the group in the future and are very talented.
Can you also talk about your teaching and outreach work…
I’ve been teaching since 2005, which includes a main group class and one-to-one private tuitions. I’m developing more Dhol Frequency classes in the future. Teaching has enabled me to do workshops in school and outreach work, which is so rewarding. I think we all have a duty to give back in some way.
What advice would you give to those wanting to play the dhol?
The primary advice would be to find a teacher. There are many great teachers across the UK who will harness your potential and expand your knowledge. They will give you enough skills to then teach others. Knowledge is power and that only comes with a great teacher.
If you could learn another instrument, what would it be?
There are too many I would still love to learn, such as tumbi and keyboards. Music is like the sea in that it never ends; it just gets deeper and deeper.
Do you get told off for practicing the dhol at home because it is so noisy?
(Laughs) Yes, everyday! First it was my mum and now it’s my wife. But having a great passion means you can never stop practicing, which is the most important thing you can do as a musician.
What can we expect from you next?
In 2018 I launched the Dhol Frequency brand, which involves classes, bringing through new talent, outreach work and performances. We are looking forward to performing alongside such a great line-up at Newham Under The Stars at Central Park in East Ham on August 17. We might even release a song in the future.
Why do you love music?
Music is me and I am music. I can never live without it! It’s been a massive part of my life from the age of eight and will continue doing it for as long as possible. The learning and discovery never ends.