Her Royal Majesty the Queen greets Dhol King
King G Mall with his “British Empire Medal”
Master Musician Gurcharan Mall has done for the Dhol what Ustad Zakir Hussain did for
the Tabla & Ustad Pandit Ravi Shankar did for the Sitar – Mr Asjad Nazir (Eastern Eye).
PROFILE “King of the Dhol drum Worldwide:-
Gurcharan Mall BEM. CEO (50 Golden years in promoting Bhangra music worldwide) 66 years old.
Now widely known as “Dhol King G Mall”, is one of the most prolific musical personalities in the Bhangra industry anywhere in the world since 1968. His talent, achievements and persona epitomise the core roots of Bhangra. Having been a key part of the birth of Bhangra music industry in the western world and given his soul to the movement, King G Mall is widely known as the first pioneer of making the Dhol drum popular around the world, with his previously bubbly unseen style of playing. He symbolises the music genre like no other musician of his generation. He’s commonly referred to as the ‘King of Dhol’, ‘Godfather of world Dhol players’, ‘Ambassador of Dhol’, ‘Foundation of Dhol in UK’ and World’s most entertaining Dhol player.
Gurcharan Jit Mall born 8/3/1952 in a small village called Hakimpur, Punjab, India. Just four and a half years old moved to big city called Ludhiana known as the ‘heart of Punjab’. Aged eleven & half he his mum & younger brother came to Birmingham, England to join their father who was already living here since 1956, Their father called them over to have a good education so to improve better standard of living. When Gurcharan moved to Birmingham, he was faced with a sudden transition from a traditional rural community into the bustling and very western city of Birmingham. Like all young people he quickly adjusted to his new environment and began his English education in an area that brought him into contact with people from many parts of the world. Although qualifying as a Mechanical Engineer, Toolmaker & Service Engineer.
His early childhood ensured that he absorbed all the cultural values of an Indian nation with its multi-cultural values and from the very start influenced by the unique rhythms of Bhangra folk music and his earliest instrument was a “Peepa Can” that he played with his hands in Ludhana. This music has its origins in the rural calendar of an agricultural society that celebrates a successful harvest & special occasions in the Punjab.
Career Started in Music:-
As a teenager in a very close community Gurcharan made a very early decision to stay with the music of his roots and in 1966 he began to play around & practice with the Dholki Indian small drum in a church hall, Handsworth where Ravidassi community used it as a temple and there his father was a Giani (preacher). In January 1968 they formed a small singing group & practiced to celebrate their Guru Ravidass ji’s Birthday, singing religious songs.
He decided that he would initially concentrate on learning all that he could about the traditional folk music and whenever he had spare time he would go and see other singing band practice.
1971 He went on to form his first singing group ‘The Nadaans’. At the same time Gurcharan was attending Sant Nankari Mission where he played Dholki & in 1972 they bought him a Dhol to form a small team of Bhangra dancers.
He continued to develop his skills as both Dholki player with singing bands & Dhol player with Bhangra dancers. He joined Bhangra dancing teams – ‘Trangha group’ Birmingham who won many awards; next ‘Punjab Group’ Wolverhampton. Always demanding perfection he realised that he needed to form his own team of Bhangra Dancers. He formed his first team ‘Nachdey Sitira’ Male/Female students at Aston University, second team ‘Nachdey Hasdey’ and third team ‘Nachda Sansaar’ also Dhol team ‘Dhol Blasters’. They quickly developed a reputation that won them many awards.
Singer Baba Bhokthora who asked Gurcharan to play Dhol at a wedding to start something new.
IN between the dancing teams Gurcharan & 3 other members formed “Apna Sangeet” and later another 2 member’s joined so it was a 6 member’s band in which he played Dholak and Dhol, he was the natural choice to provide the engine room of the rhythm section. And then came his big break within 3 years – 1986/87/88, with the release of Apna Sangeet’s ‘Apna Sangeet by Apna Sangeet’ & Tour India & Mera Yaar. With these 3 albums he stamped his name on the Bhangra industry. His unique style of Dhol playing won the hearts and minds of a whole generation of music lovers. He was the first Dhol player in the World to combine dancing on stage whilst playing Dhol, and his performances blew people’s minds. He gave Apna Sangeet and its bludgeoning fan base over sixteen years of Dhol playing frenzy and helped them to achieve global recognition.
Apna Sangeet was named as “The Big Drum Boys” because first singing band to have the Dhol drum player. His performances had so much impact that they inspired people all over the World to take up playing the Dhol.
Gurcharan Mall, undoubtedly the most qualified Dhol & Bhangra teacher in the country, is not only passing on his skills but also helping to preserve the traditional culture of Punjab in the youth of today. He began to earn a reputation as a teacher, coach, chorographer and a manager, this led to his involvement in many different groups in the U K. He has even gained recognition and was called King of the Dhol drum by from Her Majesty the Queen for his work with “Dhol Blasters” on her Majesty’s Golden jubilee at the Symphony hall, Birmingham.
Dhol was only used by Bhangra Dancers and Dholki or Tabla by Singing groups.
Gurcharan Mall is The First Dhol player in the world to dance while playing Dhol with a singing groups/ Bhangra dancing teams to start a new craze worldwide. Over the years he keep creating different things to promote Punjabi Bhangra music & dance to raise awareness about our rich culture, sharing this with the rest of the world. He has taken Punjabi music & dance from Birmingham, UK to more than 25 Countries.
Been Teaching Bhangra dance & Dhol drum full/part time since 1976 in Schools, colleges, Universities, Art centre’s both nationally and internationally. Became full time since 1984:- Musician, Music Producer, Teacher, Promoter, Artistic Director, Manager, Writer, Coach & Chorographer in Bhangra music & dance – – Written two educational books – Introduction to 1) Dhol & 2) Bhangra.
Produced two educational DVDs entitled “Easy way to learn 1) Dhol drum & 2) Bhangra dance”.
And another DVD how to keep fit & healthy “Bhangra Aerobics” and song with 4 Non-Asian artists from 4 different Countries singing in Punjabi “AAO JI”.
Has endless number of accolades and awards to his name. His recent AWARDS are: – Her Majesty Royal honours “BRITISH EMPIRE MEDAL”, The Panjabi Arts Council UK & Sahib Sewa Society
Honoured my 50 years Golden Jubilee on-going Contribution to Panjabi music arts, 50yrs on-going contribution award, 7 Lifetime Achievement Awards from 7 different organisations (1 for Introducing the Dhol Worldwide), House of Commons “Punjabi Cultural award”, ITV Arts Leadership Midlander of the year, Best Dhol Team – UK Bhangra Awards, Bharat Parvasi Divas Award N.R.I India, Excellence Award by Global Punjabi Society UK –Glory of India Award, N.R.I Hind Rattan Award India, Community Excellence Award (BCABA), 2 Best Personalities of the Year Awards Asian Pop Awards & BBC Radio Derby UK and Best Dholi from Panjabi Academy Leicester, the list is endless.
Charity Work Undertaken:-
His heart is gold with his teams over the years has helped to raise Hundreds & Thousands of pounds for different Charities Worldwide: – BBC Children In Need, Gujarat Earthquake, Pakistan Earthquake, Ethiopia and Rwanda Appeals, Oxfam, Ear & Throat hospital Wolverhampton, Eye hospital B’ham & Punjab, kidney Dialysis Machine W’ton, Cancer Research, Brain Tumour, Parkinson’s Disease, Diabetes Research, Orissa Relief, Leukaemia, Load Mayors charity, Lions club, Rotary club, London Marathon, BUPA London Marathon, Macmillan Cancer Support, British Heart Foundation, Barnardo’s, Seek Diabetes Awareness, Promise Dreams, Birmingham Children Hospital, G.R.E.A.T, DOM & many more.
Performed at many World class events such as:-
Ranging from local schools and colleges to World-wide events. Their contribution at the Queen’s Jubilee Celebrations BBC TV and at the Symphony Hall Birmingham and the Pride Park Derby — Not forgetting LIVE 8 London Hide Park was remarkable — World Record Vasakhi 315 Dhol players Oldbury — King G’s World Record 632 Dhol players Birmingham — King G Mall’s Music Build Bridges big international festival Birmingham — Birmingham Youth Music — King G Mall & SNM World Record 2,552 Bhangra dancers Wednesbury — Birmingham in Munich — Glastonbury Festival — Asian Live Aid for Ethiopia Birmingham — Swindon Borough Council Arts — London Marathon (over 8 years taking part playing Dhol to support the runners) — G8 Summit Birmingham — The Commonwealth Games Manchester — King G’s World Record non-stop 43hrs and 53hrs Dholathon Birmingham — Royal Air Force Benson OXON — London International Military Tattoo and Birmingham International Military Tattoo — BBC Blue Peter Celebration for Her Majesty’s Golden Jubilee, Birmingham — West Midlands Police Birmingham — Leicester International Dance Festival Her Majesty’s Golden Jubilee at Pride Park, Derby — International Bebel Music Festival France — International Bhangra Competition Twice Winners, Chicago, USA — Lichfield International Arts Festival — The 1998 Eurovision Song Contest, Birmingham — The Asian Song Contest Winners Birmingham — Sandwell Youth Music, Film & TV Festival Birmingham — International Music Festival Belgium for 2yrs — Artsfeat biggest arts feat in the country Birmingham took part for 5 years — International Folk Dance Festival Portugal 3yrs.
Founder member & Founder of:-
Apna Sangeet, Nachdey Hasdey, Nachda Sansaar, Dhol & Bhangra Blasters, Band Baja & Hard Kaur.
Played/Performed with OR Along-side Singing groups:-
From UK – Nadaans, Sarwan Patter/Jagtar Bassi, Apna Sangeet, Sathies, A S Kang, Alaap, Heera, Premi, Malkit singh, Safri Boys, Mastan Heera, Pardesi Group, DCS, Bhunjhey group, Geet group, Jazzy B, Sukshinder Shinda, Araad group, Daljit Matthu, Parmjit Pammi, Kamiljit Neru, Baba bakthora, Mangel singh, Aman Hayer, PBM, Dr Zus, Punjabi MC, Apachi Indian, Sazia Judge & many more.
From PUNJAB – Gurdas Mann, Jagmohan Kaur/ K.Deep, Jamla Jatt, Kuldip Manak, Hans Raj Hans, Harbhajan Maan, Sarbjit Cheema, Surinder Shinda, Manmohan Varis, Jagga Jatt, Master Salim, Jay Shree, Surjit Bhrindrakhia, Kaka Bhanawalia, Nirmal Sidhu and more.
Played with Bhangra dancing Groups:-
Sant Nankari Mission, Trangha Group, Punjab Group, Asian Arts, Nachdey Hasdey, Jugnu group, Nachda Sansaar, Hasda Punjab, Divana Group, Nachde Sitaria, Gubroo Punjab de & Bhangra Blasters.
Played with Giddha ladies dancing Groups:-
Apna Punjab, Giddha Saliadya da, Satrang Giddha, Nachdi Jawani, Desi Divas.
Played with Dhol drumming Groups:-
Dhol Blasters, Dhol Academy, Ministry of Dhol, Ambassadors of Dhol, Surtal Arts, Dhol Foundation, Dhol Riderz.
Have Recorded, Produced & Took part since 1982 to 2017 more than 44 Albums & 10 singles in some of them he received Gold discs and Platinum discs.
Biggest Show in the UK: 2005 “LIVE 8” in London Hide Park with UB40. Had an estimated audience of over 200,000 and over 4 Billion people around the World watched on television.
314 Dholis,, 632 Dholis,, 254 Dholis,, Non-Stop 42hrs and 53hrs Dholathon,, 2,552 Bhangra Dancers.
America, Australia, Africa, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Greece, Holland, Italy, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, Portugal, Switzerland, Sweden, Singapore, Spain, Vienna, The Azores islands, etc!!.
TV Appearances & Performances:-
BBC mad about music,, Britian’s Got Talent,, Goodness Graces Me,, Bob Geldof’s “LIVE 8”,,
Jim Davidson’s -The Generation Game (2 times),, Cilla Black’s – Surprise Surprise,,
Opening Ceremony of Commonwealth Games (Manchester),, NEWS – BBC, ITV and BBC SKY,,
Here & Now Asian tv show,, Doordurshan Punjab India,, The BBC Pebble Mill Show,, Eurovision Song Contest,, Blue Peter,, Don & Dusti,, Laddu & Jalabbi,, Bollywood or Bust,, Zee TV,, BritAsia TV,, Pukaar News,, Venus TV,, Kanshi TV,, Akaal Channel,, Sikh Channel,, KTV,, MA TV.
First Punjabi Artist in the World – where shopkeepers, Dance teams, Band Baja & Promoters are using King G Mall’s photos to advertise their businesses.
When asked – He said Music is my life and it has bought me a quality of life and pleasure that can-not be bettered. I will continue to Teach and Perform for the pleasure of other’s as long as almighty GOD allows me. In addition I will also continue to strive to ensure that the cultural traditions of Punjab are not lost to the new generations of Asians who are born and bred in the UK. The music may evolve but the roots will always give Bhangra music its strength and ability to appeal to other people hearts.
King Gurcharan Mall’s originality, dedication and talent have made him a formidable force in the Asian music industry. He has created his own distinct identity and taken his place among the best Punjabi musical talent on earth
and He Still continues to create new ideas with his unique entertaining exceptional abilities and lethal qualities. His unbelievable career still continues and we can only wait to see what is next for The Worlds Greatest Dholi.
Dhol King Gurcharan Mall:- is now without any doubt, the most loved, respected and cherished as an Artist and as a great human being of the world’s legendary Dhol players “He is a living legend”