Rani Taj
Pakistani drummer
Rani Taj
Rani Taj, is a dhol player from Birmingham, UK. Although already well known in the Midlands, she rose to international fame in 2010 when she appeared in a viral video playing live in the street along with a recording of Rihanna's song "Rude boy."
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  • 2011
    Age 17
    She performed along with DJ Rekha and Zuzuka Poderosa in Bhangraween 2011.
    More Details Hide Details She was also appeared as a guest in a BBC Asian Network program with Noreen Khan Since 2011 Rani Taj has spent a lot of time with the Sufi dhol players of Pakistan, namely Gunga and Mittu Sain. She is not only fascinated by the 'Qalandari' style of dhol playing but has played alongside them in various Melas and Darbars all over Pakistan. These include the darbars of Baba Shah Jamal, in Lahore, Shabir Shah in Lahore, Baba Lal Shah in Murree, Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sindh, Heera Lal Qalandar Mela in Gujar Khan and Datta Mela at Datta Darbar in Lahore. At the United Kingdom's biggest dhol competition held in Smethwick, near Birmingham and organised by Gurcharan Mall, she was invited to become one of the judges of the tournament. Not only was she the only female judge in the final she was also the youngest judge on the senior panel that day.
    Even though only a teenager, Rani continues to be a role model to young people across the world and pursues her passion for the Dhol. She has also spent tireless hours playing dhol for charitable causes such as the flood relief in Pakistan and the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.
    More Details Hide Details After her YouTube video went viral, she was asked to perform at many venues all over the world including at weddings, charity events and nightclubs. To date, she has played Dhol in New York, Dublin, Hong Kong, Norway, Pakistan and all over Britain. Rani Taj performed at New York in live studio session.
  • 2010
    Age 16
    In the summer of 2010 just after she had finished playing at a wedding, some wedding guests and family members suggested they put on some tracks in the car and asked her if she could play the dhol alongside the song.
    More Details Hide Details Rani stood in a street in Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire, dressed in full Punjabi dress and candidly mixed to this and Tinie Tempah's 'Pass Out'. This spontaneous mix was recorded and put on YouTube by a friend. People all across the world began watching this video and were shocked as well as pleasantly surprised not only to see a female playing a traditionally male instrument but effortlessly. Traditionally, a male domain Rani Taj has challenged the idea that certain instruments can be played by men only.
  • 1993
    Rani Taj was born in Birmingham in 1993.
    More Details Hide Details Although, Rani played the dhol since the age of nine, her first instrument was the viola, which she picked up when she was only six whilst at primary school. Towards the end of her primary school career she attended a Vaisakhi Mela, where she saw the Dhol Blasters playing dhol. She immediately fell in love with the Dhol and asked her mum to buy her one so she could learn to play it. Subsequently, after leaving school she decided to receive professional training. She spent the first couple of years being taught by Gurcharan Mall of the Dhol Blasters and was later also taught by Harjit Singh of the Azaad Dhol Group. Gurcharan Mall had been a dholak player with the group Apna Sangeet and Harjit Singh had been a tabla player with the Azaad Group. Both groups were pioneers in their own right and were part of the first generation of bhangra music to hit the Midlands. As part of the Dhol Blasters Rani also learned to dance bhangra. To gain further experience and provide a service Rani started to play at all kinds of public events such as festivals, parties and weddings. She initially just wanted to be a regular dhol player like many others but this all changed after her YouTube video went viral.
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