Exhibition: Where Does Our Musical Heritage Come From?

Manchester is a vibrant modern city, with a rich heritage that includes influences and cultures that have arrived here with people from all over the world. Migrant communities that have origins abroad are known as a diaspora. Here in Manchester we are fortunate to have many thriving diaspora communities, each with their own distinctive cultural heritage – and that includes the diverse traditions of music, song and dance that are performed and enjoyed across the region.

Local areas associated with a specific diaspora heritage include the Irish music scene in Levenshulme, the Asian food culture of the ‘Curry Mile’, and the Jewish clothing industry around Cheetham Hill. Can you think of any other local examples of places, traditions and music with links to particular communities?

The music of diaspora communities can be heard in many different settings and it often plays an important part of how we think about ourselves and each other.  In 2019 Band on the Wall interviewed some of the Windrush generation in a Moss Side care home and heard memories of the calypso and reggae music that has been so important to the residents who made a home living and working here in Manchester. Music can be an important emotional and cultural link to past lives and to our friends and families both here and abroad. Can you name a song that reminds you of a particular time, person or place?

These exhibition panels were presented as part of the Telling Our Stories: South Asia event at Band on the Wall on 17th July 2022, accompanying a free performance by the Rajasthan Heritage Brass Band.