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Dhad Sarangi
Dhadi History
Dhadi also spelled as Dhadhi, is one who sings ballads using Dhadd and also Sarangi, the folk instruments of Punjab. According to Kahn Singh Nabha's Mahan Kosh the definition of dhadhi is, One who sings ballads of warriors playing Dhadd. Dhadi's are a distinct group/singers emerged in the time of Sikh gurus.
As the word is used by the Sikh Gurus, it's clear that Dhadis has a History of hundred years. The sixth Sikh guru, Guru Hargobind fostered and promoted the Dhadi art and transformed the tradition from singing the praises of Landlords or Rulers to sing the praises of the true God. Dhadis were mainly emerged in the time of the Sixth Sikh master Guru Hargobind who established the Sikh High Court, Akal Takhat, and established Dhadhi's to sing the previously composed Gurbani from Guru Granth Sahib.Later, the contemporary Dhadis repertoire had broadened to include heroic ballads known as Waar's.
In that age only the lower caste people, i.e. Mirasis, used to sing as the profession was not considered to be noble or respectable for higher classes/castes. While Mirasis were Muslims, Dhadi's were not confined to a particular religious affiliation. Guru Hargobind Sahib fostered the Dhadi's and refined their repertoire. Along with singing Gurbani, their songs came to deal with the tales of Heroism and valour and was used to entertain as well as to fill the army with warrior's spirit. Two Dhadi's of that age, Bhai Natha and Bhai Abdulla, are still remembered with respect. Bhai Abdulla was a gifted poet and used to sang his own compositions in the Guru's court.
Dhadi Jatha
The word Dhadi Jatha is very closely associated with Dhadi and dhadd, the instrument. Jatha means 'a team' so Dhadi Jatha means a team of Dhadi's which usually consists of three or four Dhadi's; one Sarangi master/player, Two dhadd players and one Telling the story by a Lecture. The singers sing one by one or together like chorus according to the lyrics.
The Dhadis today are the integral part of Sikh and Punjabi music.The tradition has broadened its repertoire, including religious compositions, Heroic Ballads, Folklores, Folk Love Stories, History, Romance and other types of Folk Songs. Normally, the Jatha's are known by the leader's name; for example, Dhadi Jatha of Sohan Singh Sital.