South Asian Arts at St George's Hall
South asian arts at St George’s Hall
Oriental Arts is a Bradford-based organisation which promotes South Asian and multi-cultural performance. Responsible for bringing acts to St George’s Hall since the 1980s, Oriental Arts has a long association with this venue.
Founded in 1976, and co-ordinated by Champak Kumar Limbachia, the aim of Oriental Arts is to promote ‘South Asian and multi-cultural arts for all to enjoy… and promote understanding and participation amongst diverse communities’.
This mission is clearly seen in this poster from 1982. It shows a wide range of performers from across Bradford’s communities coming together to perform at St George’s Hall to raise funds for a local charity.
Orientals Arts has brought some of the world’s best international artists to St George's Hall. This includes legends such as Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan & Pandit Ravi Shankar.
Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, known as Pakistan’s greatest singer, was a world famous vocalist. He was a musical director and singer of Qawwali, a form of Sufi Islamic devotional music. Widely considered one of the greatest voices ever recorded, he possessed an extraordinary range of vocal abilities.
Attracting huge audiences he performed at St George’s Hall several times. This poster promotes his performance at St George’s hall on 30 June 1990.
World famous, classical Indian musician and sitar player, Pandit Ravi Shankar influenced many other musicians throughout the world, including George Harrison of the Beatles. Shankar performed at St George’s Hall numerous times. This Oriental Art’s poster promotes a performance at St George's Hall in 1982.
bollywood comes to bradford
Many Bollywood singers and dancers have performed at St George’s Hall.
Bollywood (the Indian film industry based in Mumbai) is one of the largest centres of film production in the world. Bollywood films are mainly musicals and include songs which are pre-recorded by professional playback singers; film actors then lip-sync the words to the songs on-screen. Many playback singers and film dancers are stars in their own right.
This poster from 1994 shows a selection of performers including famous playback singers and film dancers who have appeared at St George's Hall. Audience members enjoyed live performances from artists made famous for their vocal and movement work in Bollywood films.
godfathers of british bhangra
Bhangra is a fusion of traditional Punjabi folk music with modern western instrumentation. Alaap was a British Asian band credited as the godfathers of British bhangra.
Along with other hugely popular British bhangra bands such as Heera and the Sahotas, Oriental Arts booked Alaap to perform at St George's Hall during the 1980s and 90s. Bands like this brought a new type of music, combining roots in the Punjab with western, rock-influenced beats, a music which affirmed the identity of British Asian audiences in Bradford.
This poster promotes Alaap as, Europe’s No1 Asian Band, for a performance at St George's Hall in October 1986.
21st century bhangra
The West End Bhangra Musical was performed at St George's Hall in 2019, following a £10 million refurbishment of the venue. This performance helped mark St George’s Hall re-opening and brought British Asian audiences back to the venue following its 3 year closure.
The poster promotes a show which presents a 21st century take on the bhangra concert of the 1980s. It is a showcase of the premier UK bhangra artists – Heera, DCS, Apna Sangeet & Pardesi all accompanied by The Legends Band and features customised lighting shows and dancers ranging from traditional Bhangra to main stream Urban.
part of the heritage of st george's hall
Oriental Arts have brought a wide range of South Asian performing arts to St George's Hall including dance, drama, classical artists, contemporary acts, Bollywood stars and singers of ghazals.
Jagit Singh, known as King of Ghazals was an Indian ghazal singer and musician. He sang in numerous languages and is credited for the revival and popularity of the ghazal, a classical art form of poetry sung in Urdu.
Gurdas Maan, Satinder Sartaaj and Anuradha Paudwal are other great artists who have performed here to rapturous audiences.
Thanks to Oriental Arts world-class South Asian artists and their performances are an important part of the heritage of St George's Hall. This is a tradition we wish to continue by welcoming many great South Asian and international performers here in the future.
Banner image Satinder Sartaaj. Credit Nirminder Mathuru