Return of the Mela
Something for everyone at the ninth London Mela
The 02 London Mela - Europe’s largest outdoor Asian festival - returns to Gunnersbury Park, Ealing, on Sunday 4 September. Last year’s Mela attracted a record-breaking 92,000 people, and this year the festival is set to be even bigger and better than ever, with nine zones including The Main Stage, Mix Tent, BBC Introducing, The Classical Stage, Community & Kids Zone, Outdoor arts and ‘In Conversation With’, not to mention the food markets and funfair.
Free, family-friendly and universally loved, the 02 London Mela is produced by Ealing Council and supported by the Mayor of London and London Borough of Hounslow, with BBC Asian Network programming the main stage for the 6th successive year. Featuring a huge variety of artists from around the world as well as a plethora of homegrown acts, the 02 London Mela truly has something for everyone.
The Main Stage is programmed by BBC Asian Network and hosted by a selection of the station’s DJs including Tommy Sandhu, Sonia Deol, Noreen Khan and Murtz. Highlights of the bill include the number 1 British-Asian music star of all time, Jay Sean, who’ll be treating the crowd to exclusives from his forthcoming album Freesse Time as well as all his biggest tunes such as Hit The Lights, Down, 2012 (It Ain't The End) and early classics Dance With You, Eyes On You and Stolen. Welcome home Jay Sean!, and Mumzy Stranger, winner of ‘Best Urban Act’ at the UK AMA (Asian Music Awards) 2011, who will appear with collaborators including fellow East Londoner Junai Kaiden. Canada’s Indian/Pakistani fusion act Josh will make their London Mela debut on the Main Stage performing a greatest hits set and tracks from their new album Beyond Kismat, along with the Canadian Crown Prince of Bhangra, Jazzy B, who will be giving us a sneak preview of his new album, while breakthrough star Ash King will be performing his hits from some of Bollywood’s biggest film soundtracks. The Main Stage line up also includes Hunterz, Surinder Rattan feat. Joga, Roach Killa & Metz & Trix and Garry Sandhu, with more acts yet to be announced…
BBC Introducing will once again be hosting a stage at the 02 London Mela, supporting unsigned, undiscovered and under-the-radar artists. BBC Asian Network’s Bobby Friction will play host to the best emerging Asian talent; from The Truth to Foji as well as Preeya Khalidas featuring special guest appearances.
As in previous years, the 02 London Mela breaks with convention to present a broad and eclectic programme. Back for 2011, will be ‘BBC London 94.9 In Conversation With’, an intimate setting where the audience will see stars and politicians in conversation with interviewers Nikki Bedi and Sunny and Shay Grewal. This year’s line-up includes, British Asian music royalty Jay Sean; IBF and WBA World Light Welterweight Boxing Champion - Amir Khan; the man behind the "Diary of a Badman" and Youtube Comedian - Humza Badman; Southall born-and-bred Bollywood singer - Ash King; Mumzy Stranger and artist and former head of Culture for London 2012, Keith Khan. More details on bbc.co.uk/asiannetwork.
There is also a new stage ‘Indy Indie’ programmed by Global Local & Continental Drifts which features music from the left field of the South Asian Diaspora: from Desi Rock to Indo-electronica. Live on stage will be Arun Ghosh (currently gracing the front cover of Jazzwise magazine), Beatboxer Ekko (who does what is says on the tin), the legendary Celt Islam, live dubstep from Engine-EarZ Soundsystem all the way through to Nepalese Rock from Hadez and many more.
The Outdoor Arts programme includes ‘Jannat’ a three-year Cultural Olympiad project by London, Bradford and Liverpool melas, which creatively reflects on climate change and takes its inspiration from the islands of Fiji, Trinidad and Mauritius. There will also be shows from from Nutkhut and a number of other top UK outdoor arts companies.
The Community Stage and Magic Mela happen side by side this year to create a huge area of family friendly activity. The Community Stage will be hosted by renowned choreographer and dance entertainer Jay Kumar who will invite people to show off their skills in ‘Mela’s Got Talent’ and showcase Asian dance groups from across London and the UK. The Magic Mela is programmed by Emergency Exit Arts providing activities and entertainment for the younger festival goers. A delightful, interactive space where visitors can experience the magic of stories, dance and creative play,
On the Classical Stage – supported by the British Heart Foundation and compered by Ashanti Omkar– there will be performances celebrating Asian communities’ heritage, This year's Classical stage plays tribute to two famous poets of the sub-continent, Nobel prize winner Rabindranath Tagore and Nobel nominee and Lenin Peace Prize winner, Faiz Ahmad Faiz. Both of whom have left a lasting imprint on the minds of Classical arts lovers, Tagore's 150th birth anniversary and Faiz Ahmed Faiz's 100th are celebrated with aplomb, with Sufi and Bengali music and dance, performed in a way that all audiences can enjoy and connect. The stage incorporates the rare South Indian instrument, the Veena, via BBC 3's World Routes protégé, Hari Sivanesan.
For fans of club and dance music the BBC Asian Network Mix Tent will be the main attraction, hosted by Nihal. DJs featured include BBC Asian Network’s very own DJ Kayper, Sonny Ji, Dipps Bhamrah, Kan-D-Man & Limelight. Get ready to be mesmerised by an eclectic mix of Bhangra, Funky, Hip-Hop, Desi Beats, Bollywood, Drum ‘n’ Bass and pretty much anything you can think of, played by a selection of the BBC Asian Network’s DJ talent – plus special guests including PMG (Pure Music Generals) and Donae’o.
Artistic Director Ajay Chhabra says: “The 02 London Mela is a much anticipated highpoint in the capital’s cultural calendar, which gets bigger and better every year. Last year’s record-breaking audience figures show how there is a real appetite for Asian inspired music and culture. This year’s event brings together a unique mix of new commissions, the best of new talent and UK premieres of international artists.”
Councillor Julian Bell, Leader of Ealing Council says: “Last year saw record numbers attending this unique event and Ealing Council is proud and delighted to be a co-host here once more at Gunnersbury Park. Once again the Mela will provide a great opportunity for all parts of the community to come together to discover the best of South Asian arts and culture.”
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson, who is backing this year's celebrations, adds: “Amidst the gorgeous surroundings of Gunnersbury Park the London Mela brings artists from the UK and overseas, creating a formidable feast of South Asian culture. With music, dance and temptingly delicious food it offers an exhilarating day out for all the family. With people from every community invited to share in one of the capital's biggest open-air picnics, it is a wonderful example of the excellent free events that London does so well and which will add to the celebrations during the 2012 Games.”
Cllr Jagdish Sharma, Leader of the London Borough of Hounslow, says: “This event has gone from strength to strength in the last few years, and it’s a wonderful way to celebrate not only South Asian culture through food, music and dance, but also recognise the contribution all communities in the area can make to our lives.“
Mark Strippel, Head of Music and Events, BBC Asian Network, says: “The London Mela marks the culmination of a hugely successful ‘Summer Of Melas’ station campaign across the UK. Last year’s mela coverage reached an audience of more than a million including 810,000 viewers on BBC TV Red Button, and we’ll be building on that with a stronger multi-platform broadcast this year.” BBC Asian Network is a radio station that celebrates and supports Asian London.
Public information is available at www.londonmela.org
Event: 02 London Mela 2011
September 2, 2011