At the Heaton Mersey Community Centre, in Stockport, Mancunians will experience an afternoon of Bengali folk songs, reports Rahul Laud for Asian Lite News

MCR Uni to present songs, workshop on Begali folklore

Hosted by the University of Manchester, on 23 June at the Heaton Mersey Community centre at a one day workshop a public engagement activity involving Bengali folk songs connected with work, life and ritual in rural settings will be held.

The songs will be sung and presented by Bengali language speakers . This language is spoken in  Bangladesh, in West Bengal, India, and in and around Manchester (including Oldham, Burnley and Rochdale). This engagement will be celebrating a heritage that continues to be overlooked in contemporary diasporic culture, especially among the younger generations will be held on 23 June between 1.30-5.30 pm .

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MCR Uni to present songs, workshop on Begali folklore

 Organiser and curator  Prof Anindita Ghosh, Professor of Modern Indian History, University of Manchester said: ‘’These are songs from rural communities that have been preserved by families, handed down the generations through the oral tradition, but not commercially exploited (as e.g. baul or bhatiali songs have been). “Participants will be encouraged to come in and present Bengali songs related to the celebration of rural work and life (e.g. songs of handloom weavers, boatmen),” she added.

 “These songs can be traced striking similarities with songs from the nineteenth century in Lancashire, more specifically, ballads registering the misery of modern industrial living and labour,” she said.

Jennifer Reid, broadside ballad performer and local historian, has established exciting linkages between Lancashire and Bengali folk songs on similar themes, particularly with the textile industry, and will be singing in this workshop.

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MCR Uni to present songs, workshop on Begali folklore

The workshop will be led and co-produced by scholars and performers. Academics from Manchester University will be providing historical context and analysis for the songs, outlining the fundamental importance of capturing the heritage preserved in pastoral cultures, for shaping current diasporic identity, and for linking history and culture.

Performers will introduce and explain the provenance of the songs, the singers traditionally associated with them and their significance in the Bengali cultural context.

Bengali speaking populations in Manchester and around will benefit from a rediscovery of lost heritage, and the importance of oral cultures in South Asian traditions. The Bengali communities are interested in celebrating and preserving such heritage for the younger generations so that they may take pride in their ethnic roots and culture. Besides, the intangible cultural heritage of Bengali economic migrants from the 19th and 20th centuries has a place in British society and should be explored in relation to the industries that they worked in.

Entry to the event will be free. For further information and details write to Email:  



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