Drumming up a storm

The traditional Dhol-Tasha performances are an integral part of Ganeshotsav. Every year, there are newer bands that perform in Dhol Pathak (groups) in the city.

This year, with the police forces declaring that post-midnight, only traditional instruments can be played like ‘Dhol’ and ‘Tasha’, there is increased focus on the music of these bands.

Some of the groups try to do something different. Parag Thakur, co-ordinator of the competitions of Dhol-Tasha groups and one of the founders of Dhol-Tasha Federation said the major groups registered with them have decided not to play the ‘Tol’ (flat plate bell), this year, to reduce noise pollution.

The group, Rajashri Shahu Pratishthan, has declared that they will not play the ‘Tol’ this year. Pranav Pawar, Pathak (group) adviser, says, “Tol is used for synchronisation between the groups, instead of this we will use the ‘Thapi’ which makes less sound and is played by hand.”

Dhol Tassa practicing session. Pics/  Sachin Thakare

He adds that if the group is small, it is easier to synchronise, hence, this year they have decided to limit the group to just 60 members.

“In almost all the groups, the women and the girls’ participation has shown an increase every year,” adds Thakur.

Mailini Indapurkar, who is part of an all-women’s group, says there are 40 women in their group and most of them are housewives. “For working women, we have practice sessions on Saturday and Sunday. Women feel encouraged by this as they are relaxed post-practice.”

The group was started last year and the number of women participants has increased.There are visually impaired children as well who perform in the groups. Says Sanjay Satpute, the founder of Samarth Pratishthan, which works with such children, “The visually impaired students also love to play the Dhol Tasha. There are 16 boys and girls, in all, who will be playing in the Dhol-Tasha group. They are taught by sighted experts.”

If you thought that IT professionals are an unlikely choice for Dhol-Tasha groups, you are in for a paradigm shift. Kedar Padhya from the Meg Malhar Group says that there is an increase in the number of IT professionals who participate in such events.

“People enjoy participating in such events. Since their get Saturdays and Sundays are off, they practice on these days,” saysPadhya.

Interestingly, Thakur points out that a lot of youngsters are showing interest in this form. “It is an ancient form of music and needs to be preserved. We also try to co-operate with the police,” concludes Thakur. ¬†

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