Europe’s oldest Asian community is to host a huge annual Asian music and culture festival for the first time ever.
Southall Park is hosting the two-day festival featuring some of the biggest names in Bhangra as well as modern Asian stars including Jay Sean and Zack Knight.
Dubbed “Little India” after migration from the subcontinent began in the 1950s, the vibrant community is hosting the Zee London Mela on the weekend of August 18 and 19.
More than just music, the Mela will include the Taste of Asia food market, the Magic Mela family area, an art installation and a funfair.
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With its reputation as the epicentre of the British Bhangra scene, organisers of the Mela has even commissioned an exclusive Sounds of Southall performance, composed by legendary producer Kuljit Bhamra MBE alongside his mother Mohinder Kaur Bhamra.
The lineup will feature three generations of artists from huge Bhangra artists Heera, Premi, Alaap, H Dhami and Mona Singh.
Pakistani folk legend Attaullah Khan Esakhelvi, one of the most popular folk artists in the world, who has recorded over 50,000 songs in seven languages.
On Saturday afternoon (August 18), he will be performing with his son Sanwal Esakhelvi.
Southall’s very own LA hip hop star Jay Sean is also on the bill as well as Punjabi Hit Squad and ragamuffin singer Apache Indian, celebrating the 25th anniversary of his hit song Boom-Shack-A-Lak.
British Asian star Arjun will be joining the UK’s oldest chamber orchestra, the London Mozart Players for another exclusive fusion performance.
Bom Diggy star Zack Knight will also be performing to the crowd, while a grand finale combining samba and dhol will be performed by BHANG featuring Dhol Academy and Walk the Plank.
As well as the music and the fun, poetry, letters, visual art, film, spoken word responses, smells, sounds and music from survivors of the partition of imperial India into Pakistan and India who made Southall their home will be explored in an interactive exhibition called Never Set Eyes on the Land.
Sadiq Khan said: “The ZEE London Mela is a highlight of the capital’s cultural calendar and is a great celebration of Asian culture and creativity.
“Over the last 16 years, the Mela has gone from strength to strength, with street theatre, dancing and delicious Asian cuisine.
“It’s events like this, taking place in all corners of the city, that showcase London at its diverse, lively and open best.”
Speaking about the line-up, Artistic Director Ajay Chhabra said: “I am delighted to be able to bring such a wonderfully diverse programme to London audiences this year.
“Presenting the programme over two days has given us the opportunity to present artists from around the world as well as just around the corner in Southall, giving the line-up a truly global to local feel.
“I’d like to extend an invitation to Londoners of all backgrounds to attend what will be a fantastic free event that the whole family can enjoy”.
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