Sheena Boll – A Punjaban Dhol Sensation From London UK Is Breaking Stereotypes

Ishita Kapoor
Sheena Boll

Editor: It’s applauding to see women artists like you break stereotypes. Please share a bit about your background and how did you become a dhol player?

Sheena Boll: Firstly, thank you so much for allowing me the opportunity to share my experiences on a platform with such a huge reach. I am grateful and humbled by this.

My background with dhol started when I was 18 and began to learn from an East London based dhol academy. I was one of many women, many of the first women who ever played dhol in the UK. I was lucky enough to be able to learn very quickly.

I did perform at some very prestigious events as well as religious such as the East London yearly nagar kirtan for Vaisakhi, which I thoroughly enjoyed each time. My dhol was then put aside to complete my A- Level in Chemistry, Biology and Business Studies. I then went on to complete my bachelor’s degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry a QMW in London.

 

Editor: What has been the most challenging part of being a dhol player/or a female dhol player (choose anyone, amongst the two) and the positives too?

Sheena: The most challenging part of being a female dhol player for me, was how fast I was being recognized across the world. I was inundated with emails/messages/calls from across the world. I did try to respond as much as I could to all the love from the people, but this soon became harder as I crossed a hundred thousand followers across social media. I have a great team of people I work with, who are always working in the background and I owe a lot to them, it is after all – ‘teamwork that makes the dream work’.

 

Editor: Tell us about your achievements?

Sheena: My achievements consist of a Bachelors degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry, a GTP in Science teaching up to A – Level for all three sciences, I hold a couple of Diplomas in Child and adolescent counseling and various other courses which I have accumulated over the years.

 

Editor: What are your fondest music memories?

Sheena: It is difficult to describe my fondest memories in music as each experience has been so different. None the less, the ones that come to mind that stands out for me are: Being voted the best UK female dhol player in 2017, The Attaullah Khan show in Manchester – where I was the only female dhol player hand-picked to perform on stage, my performance at 10 Downing Street, where I was being covered live by over 12 channels in India – this was to welcome the Prime Minister of India.

I have also performed in Belgium for a cricket team and bumped into a famous scout from Pakistan – this was absolutely amazing. The list is not exhaustive, but each experience, no matter where it had taken place, all hold a special place in my heart. I get to meet amazing people from all walks of life and absolutely love it.

 

Editor: Where do you see yourself five years from now?

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Sheena: In five years time, it is hard to say where I think I will be as I never imagined that dhol and music would take me this far. I would like to think and hope I would have evolved.

 

Editor: Who has inspired you the most?

Sheena: My inspiration has come from within and my family. I would like global recognition for the respect I hold for my father Mr. Ajit Singh Boll and my mother Mrs. Gurbachan Kaur Boll. Many would probably say the same about their parents but I can honestly say that they have truly been my backbone. My parents give me strength, build my resilience and have always been there for me. My family is just amazing, the people I work with have also become family for me. I have a huge global network and have connections that I only dreamed of. I would also like to mention my grandparents from my father’s and mother’s side: Gurdit Singh, Kartar Kaur, Parsin Kaur, and Baleti Ram. Although I never met them all, I feel like I owe them so much. The stories my parents have told me about them has only driven me further. I hear about the struggled they used to have and this gives me the strength to know that as their granddaughter, I am making history.

There have been many Punjabi female dhol players over the years, but none have achieved the following and virality I have in the last 20 years. I am Sheena Boll, the fastest growing Punjabi dhol player in the world, not because of how I play the dhol but because of how I never give up. This is the secret ingredient to success – follow your heart, follow your dreams, whatever is meant to be yours will always be yours. I would like to thank everyone who has supported me and would like you all to know that I am eternally grateful.

 

Editor: What is your opinion about OneSong? Do you think it’s a valuable platform for the career growth of artists like you?

Sheena: One Song is a team of great and down to earth people, who genuinely want to support artists and help them grow. We need more people like this! I think One Dance is fantastic too. They have helped me so much and are great at sharing knowledge. Not everyone does this and I appreciate everything that has been done for me.

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