Johnny is a self taught dhol drum master and has been playing the dhol for over 20 years. He rose to prominence as a former member of Transglobal Underground and the founder of the Dhol Foundation. He also is a core member of the Afro Celt Sound System and The Imagined Village.
Established in 1990 The Dhol Foundation began as a weekly workshop teaching the art of playing
the North Indian Dhol Drum to students. They had 350 students at their peak with 8 classes in the UK and 2 in Canada. In 1997 founder & band leader Johnny Kalsi produced their debut album. The album was recorded live at performances around the world, absorbing the differing musical influences of bands they toured with, and contributed to their sound. Big Drum Small World was released on Shakti Records in 2001. Peter Gabriel’s label, Real World Records, recorded Kalsi’s first album in 2002. Martin Scorsese’s Hollywood film, Gangs of New York featured one of his songs, as did The Incredible Hulk. The Dhol Foundation also released Drums’n’Roses in 2007 and DrumStruck in 2011.
The Dhol Foundation have played countless shows and at festival all arounds the world and have toured with other artists including Peter Gabriel and Page & Plant. Johnny Kalsi has also collaborated or toured with Avril Lavigne, Nelly Fertardo, David Arnold, Mairead Nesbitt (Lord of the Dance), Kaiser Chiefs, Natasha/Daniel Beddingfield and more.
His music has featured on other Film and TV including Tomorrow Never Dies, Rabbit Proof Fence, Last Temptation of Christ, Stigmata and CSI Series 3.The Dhol Foundation have played at numerous events including notably the Royal Variety Performance, at the Olympic Closing Ceremony, at the Queen’s Diamond Coronation Celebrations at Buckingham Palace and on Channel 4 for Stand up to Cancer with Alan Carr & Davina McCall.
Other credits for Johnny Kalsi include being made an Ambassador for WOMAD and in 2015 Johnny was awarded a Fellowship Degree from Leeds College of Music