Tumbi : Introduction

The tumbi or toombi  is a traditional North Indian musical instrument from Punjab. The high pitched, single string plucking instrument is associated with folk music of Punjab and presently very popular in Western Bhangra music.

The tumbi was popularized in the modern era by the Punjabi folksinger Lal Chand Yamla Jatt (1914-1991). In the 1960s, 70s and 80s most of the Punjabi singers used the tumbi, such as Kuldeep Manak, Mohammed Sadiq, Didar Sandhu, Amar Singh Chamkila and Kartar Ramla.

How to play Tumbi?


How to make Tumbi?



The instrument is made of a wooden stick mounted with a gourd shell resonator. A single metallic string is passed on a resonator over a bridge and tied to the key at the end of the stick. The string is struck with the continuous flick and retraction of the fourth finger.

Use in Western music

Get Ur Freak On, a 2001 hit single by Missy Elliott produced by Timbaland, saw the introduction of the distinct tumbi sound into the popular mainstream music scene.
Mundian Ton Bach Ke Rahin (Beware of Boys) from Panjabi MC, a huge hit in the UK charts, is perhaps the most widely known example of the use of tumbi in popular Western music.
20 Inch by Master P (featuring Jamaican reggae artist Cutty Ranks and rap artist Kobra Khan) included tumbi played by Toronto, Ontario, Canadian native Shawn Ramta (grandson of the famous Punjabi folk singer, Hazara Singh Ramta).


1. Lal Chand Yamla Jatt
2. Mohammed Sadiq
3. Kuldeep Manak
4. Didar Sandhu
5. Amar Singh Chamkila (father of chamkili).
6. Manmohan Waris
7. Sarbjit Cheema
8. Sukshinder Shinda
9. Sukhwinder Panchhi
10. Saeen Zahoor