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.

A version is now being developed for Dewsbury in May 2022, which includes a live performance, as well as an exhibition and workshops.

Find out more about each version of INTERWOVEN below.

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.

2021 – interwoven

I N T E R W O V E N 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.

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