Jori - Balancing Your Inner Rhythm
The Jori, also known as Panjabi Pakhawaj, is an instrument created in the court of the fifth Sikh Guru, Guru Arjan Dev Ji, by two musicians of the court, Satta and Balwand.
The Jori emerged from the Mardang, which is a one-barrel drum: they cut this one-piece instrument into two separate pieces to create the Jori, which means 'pair'.
The sound generated from this instrument is much louder and deeper than that of the Tabla. This was a practical necessity 300 years ago, before the technology of microphones and electrical amplifiers existed, when thousands of people would sit and listen to Kirtan outdoors, a situation demanding versatile instruments that could carry the sound. The Jori is a prime example of the acoustic art required to play in an outdoor setting without technical aids. Sadly this instrument is not commonly used for singing Kirtan in modern-day scenarios.
The world-famous Tabla evolved from the Jori during the microphone era and has routinely been used to accompany playback singing as it has a considerably softer sound than that of the Jori.
The Jori requires the use of fresh dough on the bass drum (dhama), and the treble drum (dhaiya) has ink (shahee) on the skin. To apply and remove fresh dough for each sitting involves considerable effort and maintenance, the need for which was removed by the substitution of Tabla, which has ink on the skin of both drums. The Tabla bass drum is made from metal, whereas for the Jori both drums are made of tun wood, which is classed as the best quality wood for musical instruments.