Womenzone Community Centre in Bradford last Sunday held a special event to celebrate the launch of a new heritage project focused on women’s role in South Asian folk music.
The free launch event for ‘Loving Grannies Music’ was attended by women of all ages, and included a live performance by renowned singer Shabnam Khan.
The ‘Loving Grannies Music’ project, funded by Heritage Lottery, aims to examine the origins of South Asian folk music, a tradition that has changed over time in modern day Britain. Traditionally women recited folk songs and passed them down from generation to generation and there are a wide range of folk songs for every occasion from birth and weddings to festivals, fairs and religious ceremonies.
The project will document stories of women who migrated from the South Asian subcontinent to Bradford in 1960s and ‘70s to capture their memories of first arriving in a cold, damp and often hostile environment.
Many women felt socially isolated with no extended family and friends close by and would often make connections with other women from similar backgrounds through these special occasions centred around sharing and reciting folk songs.
The project also aims to help inform the younger generation of women and girls about their heritage and the stories collected will feature in a book. A series of reminiscence workshops will also take place using music and poetry to inspire and stimulate dialogue about women’s experiences of settling and building lives in Bradford.
The workshops will lead to a live performance which will be showcased at the celebratory launch at the end of the project.