Parv Kaur is a female Dhol player from UK who is beating the stereotypes in the Punjabi music industry which is traditionally dominated by men.
Parv Kaur got hooked to music from an early age. Thanks to the encouragement from her musical father Balbir Singh, she learned to play the keyboard, dhol and dholki drums at the age of fourteen. According to livingmag.co.uk, Balbir Singh was the lead singer of a bhangra band called Bhujangry group who are credited with being the first band to introduce bhangra to the UK in 1967.
Parv wanted to gain equal recognition for females in bhangra industry.
“Female dhol drummers are very very rare around the world”, she told BBC.
So whilst Bhujhangy were performing on stage, she was in the background learning the tricks to become a musician. She picked up the loudest instrument to get attention.
“I used to get DJs and other musicians looking at me and giving me the eye, thinking – What is she doing? But as soon as I pick up the drum and play, they are just shocked.”
She said it’s that shock factor that makes her love her job so much.
She started her own company Eternal Taal in 1999, which quickly grew from a highly sought-after weekly class attracting students from all over the Midlands to a performance group as well.
Dhol is a heavy wooden drum used in Bhangra music.
Dhol is not an easy instrument to master. Just the weight of it is hard to carry physically on the shoulders. So Parv Kaur also had to pay attention to her physical fitness to be able to do the job.
“It is heavy and, being a female I had to do a lot of physical work, a lot of fitness training.”
Recognised globally, Parv’s dedication to bhangra has been applauded many times and in 2010 she was presented with an award for her ‘Contribution of Bhangra music in the UK’ by the House of Commons. She’s also been nominated for ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year’ by the Institute of Asian Businesses (IAB) and ‘Best in Arts and Culture’ by the Asian Women in Achievements and the British Indian Awards.
To top it all up, she also has a career as a lecturer in computer science.
Watch BBC’s video of Parv Kaur here.