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Dhadhi

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Guru Hargobind first employed the third types of musicians called dhadhis early in the seventeenth century. He instructed them to sing heroic ballads (vaars) in his court to inspire the Sikhs at acts of valour and heroism. Bhai Abdulla - expert in playing the Sarangi, and Bhai Natha - player of dhadh (a small hand-drum) were quite popular. The clash with the tyrannical Muslim rulers appeared imminent. The dhadhi-groups performed before the sangat and groups of Sikh soldiers. These groups subsequently became very popular all over the Punjab on account of the use of folk tunes and their zealous and emotional style of singing. These folk singers had hardly any knowledge of Hindustani classical music, but their appeal to the masses was irresistible. A dhadhi group consists of two or three singers, one playing on the sarangi, another playing on the dhadh, and the third may be their leader, discoursing on the contents of their songs. Though they are expected to sing vars of the Scripture, they usually sing their own poetic compositions on the daring exploits of Sikh warriors and martyrs. One of the famous dhadhi-jathass was that of Bhai Kishen Singh Kartor. Sohan Singh Seetal is also a well-known dhadhi.

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