A sell-out event is set to mark the start of a new £99,000 project to empower South Asian women through music.

Sufi heritage and Qawwali makes up the rich tapestry of Bradford’s cultural heritage.

Often seen as the mystical expression of Islamic faith, Sufism involves spiritual practices used to bring people closer to their faith.

The core values of Sufism include mindfulness, spirituality, self-renunciation, and ethical improvement.

Meanwhile Qawwali is a form of traditional devotional singing.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund has awarded £99,938 to the Sufi Music Heritage project, led by Womenzone.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: An example of Sufi heritage and Qawwali An example of Sufi heritage and Qawwali (Image: Womenzone)

It will launch on International Women's Day (March 8) with an evening celebrating the spirit of womanhood and Sufi music.

Tickets have already sold-out for the grand occasion.

It is hoped to bring people of all faiths together and reconnect them with the world after the pandemic. 

The project's main goal is to empower women from South Asian communities and provide them with a platform to lead and shape their own festival program.

Acting as curators, performers, and festival organisers, these women will play a pivotal role in promoting the unique cultural heritage embedded in Sufi traditions.

It is also hoped to reach new audiences by delivering an inclusive programme of events throughout 2024.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

The team behind the project want to reach individuals who are often underrepresented in heritage activities, including people with disabilities, those facing mental health challenges, LGBTQI+ groups, and individuals from lower socio-economic backgrounds. 

The project seeks to boost people’s overall wellbeing and create a space for shared learning.

This includes getting young people involved in creative workshops in schools throughout 2024. 

It will see them delve into poetry, the playing of instruments and singing, and conserving cultural treasures for the next generation.

Project Coordinator Aamta-Tul Waheed said: "Especially in the wake of the challenges posed by COVID-19 and the cost-of- living crisis, the pro project aims to address the severe impact on mental health and wellbeing.

"By involving local communities in the development of cultural activities and creating an enjoyable festival programme in 2025, the project seeks to restore a sense of community, belonging, value, and self-esteem.

“The Sufi Music Heritage project offers a unique opportunity to celebrate diversity, promote cultural understanding, and uplift the spirits of Bradford's residents.”