In a typical South Asian wedding, weeks before the actual wedding takes place, musical evenings are held at the house of both the bride and the groom. Female friends, neighbours and relatives gather to sing tappay, mahiyay and traditional wedding songs; rhyming couplets which, in a few short sentences, can cover the range of emotions that weddings excite, from joy to sorrow, as well as poking light-hearted fun at the miseries of in-laws.

As well as reflecting the mood of the wedding, tappay are used by many women – married into families far from their own, bound by social constraints and unable to articulate their feelings – as an outlet for their true emotions, expressed in verse in the comfort and safety of an all-female gathering.

Join us for a unique re-enactment of a dholki, or musical wedding event, a rare insight into a part of the wedding usually reserved for a select group. South Asian tappay will be performed in their traditional setting as our hosts translate their meaning.

This event is held in collaboration with Womenzone, a Bradford-based community centre, who have gathered together tappay and bolian from women of South Asian heritage in Bradford, recording them in a new book The Journey of South Asian Folk Songs from ‘Back Home’ to Bradford, to preserve this historic tradition for future generations.

About The Speakers

Kavita Bhanot

Kavita Bhanot is a writer, editor and activist based between India and England. Her writing has been published widely and her short stories have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4. She is editor of the anthology Too Asian, Not Asian Enough, the forthcoming Book of Birmingham, and co-editor of the first Bare Lit anthology.

Razia Parveen

Razia Parveen looks at cultural practices from South Asia, specifically the ways in which they generate an identity for a diasporic community. She has a Phd from the University of Huddersfield and her first book is Recipes and Songs: An Analysis of Cultural Practices from South Asia.