Vibrant mela promises to entertain and educate
The cultural sights, sounds and tastes of Southern Asia will light up the heart of a Westcountry city on Sunday. Plymouth Mela is a free daytime family-friendly street festival offering a vibrant international menu of music, dance and theatre to both entertain and educate.
In Hindi the word "mela" means "to meet" and is commonly used to describe a large celebratory gathering. Topping a colourful and enticing bill are the world-renowned Dhol Foundation whose massed sound embraces tabla, hip hop, drum n bass and bhangra and adds a Celtic twist.
Led by charismatic drum maestro Johnny Kalsi, of Afro Celt Sound System and Imagined Village fame, the group are acknowledged as Britain's premier dhol band; they performed at the Olympics closing ceremony and recently released their third album, Drums and Roses.
Another major highlight will be the appearance of Bollywood dancers Sandip Soparrkar and his supermodel wife Jesse Randhawa.
BRAND NEW FORD B-MAX ZETEC 1.0 ECOBOOST FOR ONLY £7685*View details
DRIVE AWAY A BRAND NEW FORD B-MAX ZETEC FOR ONLY £7685.
1.0 100PS Manual
Electric Windows & Mirrors
Quickclear Heated Windscreen
15" Alloy Wheels
Bluetooth with Ford Sync
*Drive away from only £7685 and then pay nothing for 24 months!
Contact: 01626 240583
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
Choreographer Sandip has fine- tuned the stage movements of international stars like Beyonce, Britney Spears and Shakira. He and Jesse will ignite the main stage at Plymouth with their Celebrate The Tiger themed dance, which they performed at the closing ceremony of the World Economic Forum. Expect a display of explosive, precise and breathtaking elegance and skill. Their Latin and ballroom-flavoured performance will be followed by a short talk about tigers by Benjamin Mee, co-owner of Dartmoor Zoo and author of We Bought a Zoo, which is now a Hollywood film.
There's a chance for everyone to get involved in bhangra dancing when the irrepressible RSVP band from Bristol take to the stage. Their irresistible beats and infectious good-humoured enthusiasm is guaranteed to get the most reluctant of dancers up on their feet to master the essential moves of modern bhangra – from "starting up the motorcycle" to "screwing in the lightbulbs".
Kawa Circus will be telling the fictional story of the arrival of a travelling circus troupe from in Rajasthan. While they set up the show, the audience can share an intimate view of the company and their relationships with each other.
British Punjabi storytellers Peter and Gorg Chand will present Henna, the story of a young bride who is having henna decorations applied to her hands on the eve of her wedding. As the patterns emerge, the tales of love, loss, betrayal and Bollywood dancing unfold.
Rapper and songwriter Sam Kay is a rising star whose video performances have clocked up more than two million hits on YouTube. He also receives regular airplay on BBC Radio 1 and has been featured on Channel 4's Life of Rhyme documentary.
Sam wrote his first lyrics at the age of eight and his inspirational message to "B Somebody" inspires his supporters up and down the UK.
"Plymouth is somewhere I've never performed before so I'm really looking forward to putting on a memorable show. The Mela looks like it's going to be great and I can't wait to introduce my music to a new audience," says Sam.
Angry, hard-hitting slam poet Rohit Ballal makes a welcome return to the city after appearing at the inaugural Plymouth Mela in 2010, which attracted 15,00 people. Several locally based artists will also add to the mix. Performers include Vinitha Rajkumar's Rhythm India School of Dance, which focuses specifically on Bharatanatyam, one of the oldest classical dance forms that originates from southern India. Natasha's Bollywood Dance Club will present a dance fusion piece inspired by the modern film world of India.
Alyali Naresh's dance groups will offer inventive fusions of ancient Indian classical and folk dance, classical ballet, modern hip hop and Bollywood style. Another attraction will be the Asian food stalls – guaranteed to tempt the tastebuds.
Organisers of this unique Westcountry event are hoping to build on its success to establish a festival that is held every two years.
"Plymouth Mela 2012 will hopefully bring huge crowds into the city to enjoy a free, colourful and exciting event," says Anil Koshti MBE, a member of the Partnership Committee and programme committee.