Music at the Mela

Yesterday we held the 2015 Haslingden Mela at Community Link – with a dozen stalls (arranged by Habiba Shenza) selling food, clothes, shoes, offering crafts and mendhi. We also had some interesting entertainment – Stories from the Arabian Nights told by Shellac Tesab in Urdu, colourful Rajasthani marionette and hand puppets from Diana Baylis’s Black Cat Theatre, and singing from Sumana Basu.

The music caused us some worry, as we were concerned that some of the women might feel excluded from the event by there being music. The songs Shellah chose to sing were mainly songs from classic Bollywood movies, and Shamshad Khan, who organised the three events, had discussed with us what music might be most acceptable, and then consulted Sumana herself.  

So we were slightly nervous – but in the event the music sessions, each about 30 or 40 minutes, were clearly very popular. The women in the audience were asked if they had requests and before long there was a list of favourite songs waiting for Sumana to sing. The short video clip above will give you a idea…