Arts Council Projects

The Arts Council have supported a drama and music project run by One Voice Blackburn.

The WEGs pop group BANNED and drama performance ‘Creme De La Crime’ were the highlights of the One Voice Annual Dinner 2020.

The projects, supported by the Arts Council, culminated in two performances over two evenings, attracting an audience of 500. The girls were supported by Peshkar, an Arts Council National Portfolio organisation and lead participatory arts organisation targeting young people deemed hard to reach and or socially disadvantaged. The group were also supported locally in developing their musical skills by McNally Music Tuition, based in Blackburn., and by Peshkar – a specialist drama and dance company.

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

A GROUP of Asian girls have formed their own girlband to defy stereotypes of how they are portrayed in the media.
The West End Girls (WEGS) of community group 1V Blackburn created their own group called BANNED, with support from the Arts Council.

The band performed at the 1V annual dinner in February 2021, showing off what they have learned during training with McNally Music Tuition, Blackburn.

Aged between 12 and 15, the girls have spent 18 months learning how to play instruments like drums, guitar, bass and keyboards.

The girls want to inspire other young female Asians to break stereotypes and pursue music if they like it.

Bass guitar player, 14-year-old Mariyam Qadir, said: “I’ve always enjoyed listening to music, and always thought I would love to have a go at learning to play an instrument.

“My parents encouraged me to take part and I am really thankful for getting the opportunity to do something that very few girls in my community get to do.

We have a great time learning the notes to perform a full song. We have to work as a team, and there are so many skills that we have picked up along the way.”

The girls have been playing classic hits like Cyndi Lauper’s Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, but are also writing music.

WEGS leader Kiran Sadiq praised the girls. She said: “WEGs is all about female empowerment. We ask the girls what they would like to do and then we try to make it happen.

Thanks to the Arts Council and McNally’s the girls have been able to do something unique.
“Music lessons are in decline in schools, and learning to play music or take part in the arts is not always encouraged in our community.”

Arts Council inspired Girl Group appear on BBC Newsround