VIRSA has been a leading force in the North of England delivering high quality, world class Bhangra workshops and seminars over the last two decades. Our specialised team of professional dancers understand the intrinsic link between engagement, education and entertainment and the empowering properties of performing Bhangra
Led by Hardeep Sahota, who has also accomplished a Masters by Research degree on the history of Bhangra, the 'Bhangra Renaissance' to this project because of his concerted efforts to explore an array of intellectual inquiries from literature, philosophy, art, music, to oral histories, science, spirituality and faith. Explorations of these foundational elements are key for a new Renaissance in Bhangra.
Hardeep is a secondary school art teacher, choreographer, academic, artist and an avid bastion for the art form of Bhangra. He has always believed in open-access to Bhangra dance and music lessons for all. He is a creative visionary, as he hopes that one day hundreds of thousands of people from around the world will take part in a global 'World Bhangra Day', where participants will celebrate and perform Bhangra, in unison and share this experience through the power of new technologies.
The Bhangra Renaissance project is kindly supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
The project focuses on the origins of the dance form of bhangra and its impact on the identity and shared heritage of participants in Kirklees and across the region. VIRSA (which means heritage in Panjabi) is a community group made up of young volunteers who conduct research, practice and celebrate the heritage of South Asian Arts in Kirklees. Working with a range of services from the museums, libraries, local schools, colleges and Huddersfield University.
We aim to strengthen the understanding and the preservation of memories based around Bhangra, a folk dance from the Indian sub-continent.
Through community projects and workshops we will be able to give participants a richer sense of identity and a deeper understanding of the cultural heritage of Bhangra. The project will also be an opportunity to develop new bonds, understanding and fellowships with members of the wider community through the dissemination of the project.
Fiona Spiers, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund Yorkshire and the Humber, said "Bhangra music and dance features heavily in the heritage of communities that have migrated from South Asia to Kirklees in the last 50 years. This project will enable volunteers to learn new skills to uncover and celebrate the art of bhangra, bringing together different generations to learn about this unique heritage."
The three primary outcomes for the Bhangra renaissance project are;
These short stories/interviews record first hand true life stories from the 1950's to the present date. They capture the shared heritage of the South Asian Diaspora across the region. Their aim is to share the rich social and cultural heritage of Bhangra with a new audience. These oral history recordings are currently being collated and will be archived and available at the Tolson Museum memory bank.
We are pleased to confirm the leading photographer Tim Smith has collated an art exhibition tracing the origins of Bhangra from the Panjab.
The main exhibition will be supported by work from
Bhangra: Mystics, Music and Migration Bhangra: Mystics, Music and Migration explores the origins of this folk song and dance from the Panjab in South Asia and its development into part of modern British culture in the hybrid soundscape of British Bhangra and beyond.
This book originated in academic research and the Heritage-Lottery funded Bhangra Renaissance project. Through ethnographic research, oral history interviews, performances, photography, story-telling and community activity it celebrates the past contribution of all those involved in Bhangra.
This ground-breaking work provides an in-depth history of the spiritualism of performance and song, and an overview of the artists involved in influencing its development, as well as contemporaries leading the way of Bhangra's renaissance amongst the South Asian diaspora in the UK and around the world.
Angelillo, M. (2007). India: History and Treasures of an Ancient Civilization. Vercelli, Italy: White Star Publishers.
Aryan, K. C. (1983). The cultural heritage of Punjab, K. C. Aryan B. C. to 1947 A. D. Dheli: Rekha Prakashan
Bance, P. (2007). The Sikhs in Britain. Gloucestershire: Sutton: Stroud.
Brard. G. S. S. (2007). East of Indus: my memories of old Punjab. New Dheli, India: Hemkunkt Publishers
Chilana, R. S. (2005). International bibliography of Sikh studies. Dordrecht: Springer
Christians, S T. (2011). Indian Culture: Bharatanatyam, Bhangra, Areca Nut, Gutka, Emblem of India. England: LLC Books
Combe, D. P. (1987). Justine Ward and Solesmes. Washington DC: Catholic University Press of America
Dudrah, R. (2007). BHANGRA Birmingham and beyond. Birmingham UK: Punch
Eggermont, P. H. L. (1993) Alexander’s campaign in Southern Punjab. Leuven, Belgium: Uitgeverij Peeters en Departement Oriëntalistiek
Grewa, J. S. (1998). The Sikhs of the Punjab. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
Lancaster, J. McCurry, S. (Feb 2010). National Geographic: India’s Nomads. Washington DC: National Geographic Society.
Nijhawan, M. (2006). Dhadi Darbar. New Delhi: Oxford University Press
Noor, J. S. (2008). Panjab de lok Naach - Folk Dances of Punjab (Punjabi). New Dehli: Parkash.
Noor, P. (2008). ROOH PUNJABAN DI (Punjabi Folk-Songs). Amritsar: Waris Shah Foundation.
Pande, A. (1999). Mustard fields to disco lights, Folk Music & Musical Instruments of Punjab. Ahmedabad, India: Grantha Corp.
Pandharipande, R. (2011). Bollywood and Globalization: Indian Popular Cinema, Nation, and Diaspora. London, England: Anthem Press
Pettigrew, J. (1995). The Sikhs of the Punjab: Unheard Voices of State and Guerrilla Violence (Politics in Contemporary Asia). London: Zed Books.
Perks, R. and Thompson, A. (1998). The Oral History Reader. London: Routledge.
Rithchie, D. A. (2003). Doing Oral History. London: Oxford University Press.
Roy, A. G. (2010). Bhangra Moves: From Ludhiana to London and Beyond. Surrey UK: Ashgate
Sharif, J. F. (1972). Islam in India: or The Qānūn-i-Islām : the customs of the Musalmāns of India : comprising a full and exact account of their various rites and ceremonies from the moment of birth to the hour of death. London: Curzon Press.
Singh, D. (1979). Sikhism A Comparative Study of Its Theology and Mysticism. New Delhi: Stirling.
Singh, G. (1979). The History of the Sikh People (1469-1988). New Delhi: Allied
Singh, K. & Singh, J. Parachian Sewadas – English Translation. Chandigarh: Institution of Sikh Studies
Singh, K. (1963). A History of the Sikhs, Volume 1: 1469-1839. Delhi, India: Oxford University Press.
Singh, P. (2005). THE SIKHS. New Delhi, India: India Today Group
Singh, S. (Medieval source) Siri Gur Pratap Suraj Granth. Panjab, India.
Streets, H. (2004). Martial races: the military, race and masculinity in British imperial culture, 1857-1914. England: Manchester University Press
Singh, P. (2003). Vaisakhi Celebrations and Birth of the Khalsa (Let’sDiscover). London, England: DTF Books
Tatla, D. S. (1999). The Sikh Diaspora the Search for Statehood. Seattle: University of Washington Press.
Temple, R. C. (1884). Legends of Panjab. Islamabad: IFH Institute of Folk Heritage Islamabad
Thompson, P. (2000). The Voice of the Past: Oral History. Oxford: Opus Books
Virnder, S. K. (2000). Vilayeti Rhythms: Beyond Bhangra's Emblematic Status to a Translation of Lyrical Texts Theory, Culture & Society. England: Sage Publications
Woodfield, I. (2000). Music of the Raj: A Social and Economic History of Music in Late Eighteenth Century Anglo-Indian Society. New York, USA: Oxford University Press.
Young, R. (1990). White Mythologies: Writing History and the West Book. New York, USA: Routledge
Yow, V. R. (1994). Recording Oral History: A Practical Guide for Social Scientists. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage Publication
The Bhangra. Clint Kelly and Jasjeet Thind ; Extract from article available from
Bhangra definition. Available from:
Article on Bhangra, Punjabi Folk Dance, Available from:
Article from the Britannica Ecyclopedia, Bhangra. Primary Contributor: Virginia Gorlinski. Available from:
Article Chronological History – Bhangra and its Origins, from Soho Road to the Punjab website: Available from:
Information from 'History of Punjab: gives a more comprehensive look at the turbulent history of the Panjab: Comprehensive text of Punjabi History: Available from:
Article on Jatt surnames. Available from:
Article on the Bhakti Kaal movement. Available from:
Article on Shaster Vidiya. Available from:
Article on food produce in the Panjab. Available from:
Article on Suffism. Available from:
Article on Baba Farid Ji. Available from:
Article on Bhagat Kabir Ji. Available from:
Article on Kathak Dance. Available from:
Article on the Bhakti movement and dance. Available from:
Article on Sikh Gurus. Available from:
Article on Sikh Gurus. Available from:
Article on Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Available from:
Article on Guru Arjan Dev Ji. Available from:
Article on Siri Guru Har Gobind Ji. Available from: -
Article on Boliyan. Available from:
Article on the Sarangi instrument. Available from :
Article on Guru Gobind Singh Ji. Available from:
Article on the Sarbloh Granth. Available from:
Article on Suriya Partap Granth. Available from:
Article on Gur Gobind Singh Ji. Available from:
Article on Aadh Granth Sahib. Available from:
Article on Bhai Gurdas Diyan Vaaran. Available from:
Article on the village of Heer, Jhang. Available from:
Article on The British Empire. Available from:
Forum on Mixing The Sacred & The Profane: Gospel vs Secular Culture...Music. Available from:
Article on Music in Islam. Available from:
Quote from; Indian Classical Dances, History of Classical Dances, Performing Classical Dance, India: Available from:
Quote from; The Neural Basis of Human Dance. England < http://cercor.oxfordjournals.org/content/16/8/1157.full> [Accessed 10th March 2011]
Article on the Dhangari people. Available from:
Definition of dhol drum. Available from:
Article on Nihang Singhs. Available from:
Article on Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s composition Chandi di Var. Available from: <
Article on the Sutlej River. Available from:
Article on Partition. Available from:
Article on the British Empire and the cost of human life. Available from:
Article on the Singh Sabha Movement. Available from:
Article on the Sikh Rehat Maryada. Available from:
Article on Partition. Available from:
Gurdas Mann's emotional interview about 1984 Operation Bluestar. Available from:
Bhangra: A Political Economic Breakdown By Krishneil Maharaj: Available from:
Singh, S. & Gill, M. S. (2002). Social and Psycological Trauma of the Displaced: A study of Partition of India. Available from:
The Sacred dance: a study in comparative folklore (1923). Available from:
Bhangra spreads its empire: Article on Partition. Available from:
Article on Asian migration to Southall. Available from:
Article on: History of Bhangra. Article on Available from:
Article on, Dance and Human Rights: An interview with Christopher Bruce, Artistic Director, Rambert Dance Company July,1999: Available from:
Article on, A Demographic Case Study of Forced Migration: The 1947 Partition of India. Available from:
Article on, Ethnographic Mapping and the Construction of the British Census in India: Kevin Hobson. Available from:
Information on Britains Got Bhangra – Rifco Arts. Available from:
Online documentary based on alcoholism and drug addiction in the Panjab. Available from:
Article on Gramophone recordings. Available from:
Article on Uhdam Singh in Popular Memory. Vinay Lal. Available from:
Article on Comparative Study of Hindi and Panjabi Language Scripts. Available from:
Article on Sufism Available from:
The World Bhangra Day celebrations took place in Huddersfield, and were held on the 13th April 2013 to coincide with the cultural festival of Vaisakhi. It was the first ever grassroots celebration of Bhangra on a global scale. There were three main parts of the day. The first was a venue wide art exhibition held at the Lawrence Batley Theatre, which traced the shared heritage and origins of Bhangra. The panels that chart a historical time-line through photography, art and archive material were further enhanced by artwork contributed from local, national and international photographers and artists.
Art Exhibition Lawrence Batley Museum 18th March to 13th April 2013.
An art exhibition tracing the shared heritage and origins of Bhangra.
The second event was a symposium based on Bhangra held at the University of Huddersfield's Researches Hub and co-ordinated by esteemed academic Dr. Rajinder Dudrah, author of the Soho Road to the Punjab - Bhangra book......more
Panjab offers the richest and probably the most lavish spread as far as its musical traditions go; from Bhakti at one end, to Sufi mysticism at the other, and from the high portals of the classical genre to robust folk traditions.
These varied forms have flourished side by side here for centuries.
Panjab is a multi-layered cultural region and its music tradition stretches back thousands of years to the Vedic period.
Lying between the Gangeatic plain with its agricultural riches and the steppes of central Asia, this region has been exposed to many cultures, each with its own musical mode.
It is this unrelenting exposure to the new that has given Panjab's folk music a remarkable
- Dr Alka Pande - From mustard fields to Disco lights
Explore the Soundscape of the Panjab through this interactive timeline.
Learn the Basics of Bhangra and dhol drumming
Hardeep Sahota, a secondary school art teacher with over 15 years of experience, holds a Masters degree in the History of Bhangra and is an expert in teaching
and delivering professional Bhangra and Dhol workshops. For more information or to book please contact us on
T: (UK) 07944536835
Website developed by Arun - firstname.lastname@example.org