Bradford youngsters captivate Saif-ul-Malook festival audience

Two Bradford pupils won the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to perform alongside international performers at a cultural festival in Bradford celebrating the Saif-ul-Malook collection of poems, much-loved by the Punjabi community.

Ismail Hussain, aged 12 who is at Kings Science Academy and supported by the Al-mustafa centre and Mohammed Isa Khan, aged 17 who studies at Laisterdyke Business College stole the show at St George’s Hall with their mesmerising recitals of the revered text. 

The youngsters were chosen to recite the collection of poems by expert judges after a series of workshops organised by the Bradford Literacy Campaign, Bradford Council’s Diversity and Cohesion team and PM Promoters in evening supplementary schools. These workshops used the original Punjabi poetry by the acclaimed poet and scholar Mian Muhammad Baksh alongside English translations and explanations of the text. 

The Bradford Literacy Campaign is a National Literacy Trust initiative which is working in partnership with Bradford Council and other local partners to raise awareness of the importance of literacy skills in the district. The campaign teamed up with the event to encourage creative writing and emphasise the importance and advantages of mother tongue.

International artists praised the students for their performances, including Sufi vocalist, Sanam Marvi who said Ismali’s recital was “sincere and pure”. Judges commended Mohammed’s knowledge and delivery of the text as “beyond his years”.

One of the campaign’s aims is to emphasise the advantages of being bi-lingual and encourage parents for whom English is an additional language to become more involved in their child’s literacy development. To help achieve this, the Bradford Literacy Campaign produced a resource containing context and translations of the Saif-ul-Malook poetry which participants took home with them to share with their family after the workshops.

International artists praised the students for their performances, including Sufi vocalist, Sanam Marvi who said Ismali’s recital was “sincere and pure”. Judges commended Mohammed’s knowledge and delivery of the text as “beyond his years”.

Isa Khan said: “I’ll never forget this experience - from seeing the tears in the eyes of the judges when I recited at the audition to the praises from a giant like Sanam Marvi. I feel encouraged and inspired!”

Imran Hafeez, the National Literacy Trust’s Bradford Hub Manager says: “The workshops have been a great success with the students really engaging with discussions on this fascinating piece of literature. To be able to recite it to this standard is a fantastic achievement and the Saif-ul-Malook festival has provided these children with an amazing experience. We’re looking forward to building on this year to develop an annual programme which works closer with schools and engages more of the community.”


Information

Published: 16/09/2014
Audience: All Headteachers and Staff
Contact: Fiona Binns

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