Case Study


Woven into Song choir and Boliyan singers

celebrating the cultural landscape

Since 2019 the Woven Into Song/INTERWOVEN project has explored stories of immigration, from the industrial revolution to the present day. It celebrates the diverse cultural landscape that has grown in Kirklees through that immigration into the textile industry, mixing traditional British and South Asian cultural influence.

In 2019 the project worked with Boliyan singers and local community choirs, with textile industry stories from South Asian women and 19th century archive material forming the inspiration.

In 2021 Covid meant that the project took a digital form, gathering more stories and adding brass bands and folk singing to the mix.

Finally (for now) in May 2022 INTERWOVEN came to Dewsbury to celebrate the rich heritage of North Kirklees’ shoddy and mungo industry and its connections to present day environmental issues in the modern textile industry.

The film charts the project from 2019 to the present day, and  you can find out more about each version of INTERWOVEN below.

2022 – interwoven dewsbury

INTERWOVEN wowed Dewsbury in May with a celebration of the rich heritage of North Kirklees shoddy and mungo industry and its connections to present day environmental issues in the modern-day textiles industry.

There was an pop up exhibition on Foundry Street that explored shoddy and mungo, two weeks of workshops and talks, and a beautiful music, poetry and dance performance supported the INTERWOVEN Ensemble – Avtar Singh on tabla, Jagtar Singh on harmonium, brass from Hanson Arts and folk singers Sadie and Ruth Price – performing Round and Around: The Story of Shoddy in Song at Dewsbury Minster.

Below is a selection of photos and the video of Round and Around…

You’ll also find links to the project booklet, the programme and audio extracts of the stories that inspired the project.

2021 – interwoven

INTERWOVEN is a unique soundscape of the Kirklees area, both its mill heritage and its present – a mixture of machinery, work, storytelling, brass music and boliyan.

Artists Hardeep Sahota, Mandeep Samra and Boff Whalley have created a weave of ideas, something at once both unusual and recognisable, drawing from the collected stories and images of the people who’ve spent lifetimes working in the Kirklees weaving mills.

Featuring the Huddersfield Boliyan Ensemble with Swarnjit Kaur, Skelmanthorpe Brass Band and folk singer Johnny Campbell.

2019 –woven into song

Woven Into Song was a collaborative performance by boliyan singers and choirs from Kirklees. It tells the stories of economic migrants from the industrial revolution to the present day.

Hardeep Sahota and Mandeep Samra researched women’s stories of migrating from South Asian countries to work in the Kirklees textile industry during the 1950s and 1960s. Then Boff Whalley of Commoners Choir used their stories, as well as textile workers accounts of life during the industrial revolution, to write a song that resonates across the centuries.

The Huddersfield Boliyan Ensemble, Swanjit Kaur and Kal Mellor then worked together using the boliyan verse to also tell the women’s stories.

HOOT community choirs, together with members of Commoners Choir, then came together with the Huddersfield Boliyan Ensemble to create a moving and memorable performance at Holmfirth Arts Festival in June 2019.

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