Premal Bhatt talks with Professor Jerri Daboo from the University of Exeter, and musician Kuljit Bhamra about their journeys of exploring South Asian heritage in the UK. They are particularly interested in how music and performance have helped influence and shape their identities. Jerri grew up in a suburban white community before heading off to study Drama and Music at the University of Bristol. Her parents wished she would study a more academic subject.  She discusses how her “life journey is very much bound up in her research in performing arts” exploring the history, tensions and creativities of British Asian Theatre. Kuljit  lived a quiet life as a civil engineer, keeping his music as a sideline project as music was not seen as a ‘real’ job to his family. Now, he is a hugely respected, multi-award winning, MBE holding, British Asian musician.

The programmes were made with Stellaria Media and broadcast on Bath Radio, Soundart Radio (Totnes), Radio St Austell Bay and Devon Stream in a celebratory radio festival on November 27th & 28th.

This European Researchers’ Night project is funded by the European Commission under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions.


Jerri Daboo

Professor of Performance
University of Exeter

Her research and teaching focus on a range of diverse areas, which explore issues of the body, culture and identity in training and performance. She has trained and taught for many years in martial arts, yoga, Buddhism, Indian dance, movement, physical theatre, body awareness and improvisation, and utilises principles from these in her work with actors and dancers. She worked professionally as a performer and director for fifteen years, before taking up the position of Lecturer in Exeter in 2004.

Premal Bhatt

He presents Phonic Mango, a music programme on Phonic FM in Exeter. It showcases artists of south Asian heritage from across the world. Playing traditional folk and classical, Carnatic, Hindustani, Qawali as well as contemporary sounds such as hip hop, electronica, funk, drum n’ bass, indie. The show and the music is for everyone, celebrating the amazing and wonderful diverse music being produced.

Kuljit Bhamra MBE

He is a leading British Indian musician, composer, and producer. A renowned tabla player, he performs with musicians across different genres of music including western classical, folk, and jazz – as well as classical and popular forms of Indian music. Kuljit was one of the key influences in the development of British bhangra, and continues to be at the forefront of promoting awareness of Indian music in the UK. In 2009 Kuljit was awarded an MBE for services to Bhangra and British Asian music.