twitter facebook instagram

Chak De Phatte with Ministry of Dhol and Guests

Celebrating 56 Years Bhangra Dance and Dhol

Birmingham has been without a doubt the hub of UK Bhangra and home to some of the most influential bands and promoters of the music, but have you ever heard about Free Form Bhangra?

Prior to 1947 Partition of the Punjab region, men of all faiths danced traditional Bhangra. However, after 1947, millions of people were relocated between the new nations of Pakistan and India. Most of the area in which community bhangra is practiced became contained within Pakistan, however the Sikh and Hindu participants moved to Punjab, India where the free form of traditional Bhangra was born.

The 1950s saw the development of the free form traditional Bhangra in Punjab, India, which was patronised by the Maharaja of Patiala who requested a staged performance of Bhangra in 1953. The first significant developers of this style were a dance troupe led by brothers from the Deepak family of Sunam (Manohar, Avtar and Gurbachan) and the dhol player Bhana Ram Sunami.

Developed during stage performances, which incorporate traditional Bhangra moves and also includes sequences from other Punjabi dances, namely, Luddi, Jhummar, Dhamaal, and Gham Luddi, and was performed on the national stage for the first time in 1954 on the Republic Day celebrations.

Free Form Bhangra grew in popularity during the 1950s and was continually developed in India and attained a rather standardized form by the 1970s. Thereafter, the free form traditional Bhangra was exported to other countries by Punjabi emigrants and in Birmingham and the Black Country, with top Bhangra dance acts like Nachdey Hasdey where pervious members include King Gurcharan Mall, Meshi Eshara, Kamaljeet (Dholi for Malkit Singh), Sukshinder Shinda, and Dave of MonerSpiner.

Celebrating desi music and culture heritage with a very exclusive performance from Ministry of Dhol and special-guests.


Digbeth Mela, Saturday 12 November, No 21. Milk Street, Digbeth. Birmingham. West Midlands. B5


Digbeth Mela is produced and curated by

Comments are closed.