As a community, we strive to embrace all individuals of various ethnicities, genders, religions, and sexualities. We believe that everyone should be treated equally and with respect. This series of spotlights focuses on social justice pieces, so that everyone feels welcomed and supported.
Harnoor Kaur Randhawa, also known as Dholi Kaur, currently attends Sherwood Heights School and is breaking gender stereotypes at the bright young age of 13. In the future, she aspires to be an industrial architect, because she thoroughly enjoys building and creating structures.
How long have you been playing the dhol and what made you want to start learning and playing?
When I was little, I remember asking my parents for both a tabla and a tumbi. My parents were very supportive of me pursuing music and bought them for me, without hesitation. I constantly played them for fun, alongside taking private piano lessons and learning the recorder in school. You can say I was very musically inclined from the start. Soon after, I discovered two dhols in the basement of my home. I talked to my parents and learned that the dhols belonged to them. I voiced to my parents that I wanted to learn how to play and once I heard the sound and energy that the dhol produced, I was mesmerized. That was seven years ago. Everyday I play, I continue to learn and love it more than the previous day.
How did you train yourself to play a different beat with each hand simultaneously?
Training to play the dhol first comes with understanding the instrument. One of the hardest things that I had to adjust to was the weight of the dhol. When I was six, handling the heaviness of the dhol and coordinating both hands to play different beats took time and practice. Taking private piano lessons really helped me in my journey to play the dhol. Daily practice with playing piano using both hands simultaneously provided me with the disciple that translated into mastering the dhol. Also, with the techniques I have learned from various instructors, I have gained knowledge on how to count notes in a rhythm, play in one tempo, and to use facial expressions while performing.
It is rare to find females playing the dhol, because the punjabi culture is very patriarchal. How do you feel about personally breaking this gender stereotype and why is it necessary to?
When I first began, I never noticed the lack of females playing the dhol. However, after being more exposed to the environment, I observed that it was indeed a male dominated field. Thankfully, I have never felt disadvantaged or mistreated because of my gender. Although the Indian culture is patriarchal, it is up to us women to break these barriers to achieve our goals and passions. Always continue to practice and strive for excellence. Do not let gender stereotypes hinder you from pursuing anything. The only person that is stopping you is yourself.
You are an inspiration and a role model to women across the globe. What advice would you give to a young woman wanting to pursue playing the dhol?
I am overwhelmed to hear that I am inspiring others! I would tell them to stand their ground and do not let the size of the instrument intimidate you. I understand that playing a new instrument can get frustrating, but remember that it takes time and practice to get used to it. Never forget to have fun! The joy that the sound of the dhol brings to a group of people is all worth it.
Dholi Kaur Performing at PCHS International Women's Day Gala
Fun Facts & Social Media
I also play the piano and the alto saxophone.
I love doing Bhangra and I am currently on two teams.
I played basketball for a rep team, but had to temporarily stop due to school commitments.