Two Bradford pupils
won the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to perform alongside international
singers 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 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 campaign teamed up with the event to encourage creative writing and highlight the importance and advantages of mother tongue by organising workshops which used the original Punjabi poetry alongside English translations and explanations of the text.
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.”