Sunglasses and saris replaced wellies and waterproofs at the o2 Mela in Kelvingrove Park on Sunday 24 June as the monsoon like weather of Saturday change to sunshine.
More than 25,000 revellers refused to let the damp conditions spoil a fun-filled weekend. Festival-goers and families of every age and ethnicity enjoyed the music and dance at this Asian carnival.
A spectacular line-up of international performers delighted the crowds on three stages. Scotland’s biggest multi-cultural festival has gone from strength to strength. This year Glasgow Life added an extra day when the entertainment was specially programmed for 3,000 city schoolchildren. Ten Glasgow schools rehearsed with professional dancers for seven weeks, to produce a final performance in front of their peers on the World Stage on Friday.
The O2 Glasgow Mela showcased one of the hottest new female talents on the Asian music scene – Avina Shah – who delights fans of modern Bollywood and Rnb/pop, as well as devotees of the more traditional Punjabi and Gujarati styled music. This versatile performer took her audience on a memorable musical journey, kick-starting her performance with her debut single, the upbeat ‘Tere Bina’.
After an eight-song set Avina said: ‘I was so excited about performing for the first time in Glasgow. The reputation of Glasgow audiences is well known and the crowd were brilliant. They were very welcoming, in fact their dancing entertained me, I only hope I entertained them too. My final song, my new single ‘Dil Deewana’, is about letting your hair down, about having fun. The people of Glasgow certainly showed they know how to do that. It’s been great fun and I’d love to come back.’
Later on Sunday, award-winning Bhangra singer JK performed for the first time in Scotland with his sensational live band.
On Saturday the exceptional Bhangra star Angrej Ali and his live band electrified the O2 Glasgow Mela crowds with their unique brand of Punjabi folk and traditional music, which was fused with an exciting urban sound. From classic hits Tharti Hilde and Phattey Chak to dance floor smash Nachdi De, Angrej Ali delighted fans old and new with his renowned singing style.
International dance acts added colour and energy to the proceedings. The Electricat Dance Troupe amazed with their display of Brazilian dances. The Afro-Latino influences delivered a contemporary and powerful style. This truly spectacular extravaganza of pulsating rhythms, sinuous movements and colourful feathers and sequins really impressed the O2 Glasgow Mela audiences.
The Kennedy Cupcakes offered an alternative dance show when they performed showstopping routines to 40’s and 50’s hits such as ‘Boogie Woogie Boy’ and ‘In the Mood’. The Kennedy Cupcakes were dressed in the finery of the times. They added a touch of vintage glamour to the proceedings and had the audience eating out of their hands. While the Kawa Musical Circus mystified those watching with rope walking and an incredible human ‘helicopter’ acrobatic stunt some 20 feet in the air.
Councillor Archie Graham, Chair of Glasgow Life said: ‘In its 22nd year, the O2 Glasgow Mela continues to be the brightest and best festival to showcase Scotland’s multi-cultural talents and rich heritage of which this city is so proud.’
Gosia Manka, Channel Marketing Manager at O2 said: ‘O2 were delighted to be a part of the cultural extravaganza at the O2 Glasgow Mela again this year. We hope the many attendees of the event had a great time and came to visit the O2 international bus and camper van to make free international calls to friends and family. ‘
Forestry Commission Scotland was a Mela partner and developed a first-class Kid’s Zone, programmed by Glasgow-based artist Joanne Boyce. This offered a wealth of activities to tempt little ones to get creative in the park. For the first time ever, there was a 10m by 10m synthetic ice rink at the event which was free to enjoy. This proved to be a welcome addition for all ages.
Musicians, dance acts and interactive arts performers came from across the Commonwealth to performat this festival . There was also an eclectic mix of more than 50 stalls. From exotic foods, fashion and fabrics and arts and crafts to activities such as henna, hair braiding and face painting. The crowds definitely didn’t go hungry – the smells and tastes of international cuisine from the exotic to the everyday provided temptation at every turn.
Since its launch during Glasgow’s 1990 European City of Culture celebrations, the O2 Glasgow Mela has grown to become the leading festival of its kind in the country. In addition to three main stages (World, Commonwealth and Mehfil) the festival also featured an ice rink, street theatre, a Kids Zone and authentic stalls and catering.
The 02 Mela started with a splash on Saturday 23 June when the heavens opened as the major Asian styled, two-day festival got underway in Kelvingrove Park.
In the dry, sunny moments just before then, photographer Ian McIntyre caught some of the musicians as they were rehearsing on one of the three stages at the event. Ironically, this stage wasn’t allowed to operate when the rain descended. But the other two went ahead with their scheduled performances despite tiny audiences huddling under brollies patiently listening to their favourite Bollywood and Bhangra and other stars.
Apart from the Forestry Commission’s play space for children which was covered and busy with crafty little ones making things, having their faces painted and lapping up story-telling sessions, the rest of the park was awash with water and devoid of people till well into the afternoon.
A few brave folk scurried about under umbrellas but most of the stall holders sat glumly with tents full of unsold, lovely goods. Things brightened up mid afternoon when the rain stopped and some of the anticipated 20,000 visitors braved the elements to explore the multitude of stalls, events and entertainments.
Similar wet weather is forecast for Sunday. But it won’t stop the music.
Scotland’s biggest multi-cultural festival – the O2 Glasgow Mela – will erupt on Saturday 18 June at 12 noon in Kelvingrove Park. So stand back and enjoy the colour, music and fun from then till 8pm that night and again during the same hours on Sunday 19 June. This will be the first time in 21 years the event will take place over two days. It celebrates the city’s racial diversity and is based on the traditions and customs of the Indian sub-continent. And it is a free event!
Said Gosia Manka, Channel Marketing Manager at O2: ‘This is a fantastic community event. We are delighted, again, to offer our support and look forward to enjoying the wonderful celebrations of Asian arts and culture.’ Around 25,000 people attended last year.
Added Councillor George Redmond, Chair of Glasgow Life: ‘Glasgow is rightly proud of its rich multi-cultural heritage. A visit to Kelvingrove Park this weekend promises to put a smile on your face – expect colourful costumes, uplifting music and awesome dance routines from across the Commonwealth – and you won’t be disappointed. In its 21 year history, the festival has gone from strength to strength. It is certain to be another exciting, family, event and I’d encourage everyone to come along and enjoy.’
Bailie Hanzala Malik, Chair of the O2 Glasgow Mela Steering Group, said: ‘We have seen O2 Glasgow Mela grow in size and popularity to become one of the most keenly anticipated and enjoyed events of the summer by people of all ages and cultures. I am confident this will be the best celebration yet. It is certainly going to be the biggest, thanks to the wealth of acts performing across the two days. I would like to thank the many individuals and organisations involved for working so hard to help to ensure that Glasgow’s 21st Mela is one to remember.’
Among the many exciting performances will be the Chhau Dancers. These elaborately masked artists represent gods, monsters and animals and with a mix of powerfully executed acrobatic movements and mid-air somersaults tell their stories. Said Tinku from Chhau Dancers: ‘I have been looking forward to dancing in Glasgow. I’ve heard it is a very welcoming city. I hope our dancing inspires people to learn more about Indian culture and I look forward to finding out more about Scotland. That’s what the Mela is about after all – sharing the best parts of different cultures.’
Also billed are the Jaipur Maharaja Brass Band . They will provide a unique blend of Indian melodies and traditional Rajastani folk music with popular themes from Bollywood, jazz, funk, pop and reggae. Their set includes a spectaclar gypsy dancer, famous across India for her ‘cobra dance’. Local Bollywood talent, Desi Bravehearts, charmed the crowds last year and will add further colour with their traditional dance routines – which have great humour and are very advanced in style as if from the set of a blockbuster Bollywood movie.
Renowned, world-class Bhangra band – DCS – will play on both days. It is five years since their platinum selling sounds were heard at the Glasgow O2 Mela. With a back catalogue that includes Punjabi, Hindi and English, DCS have built a global reputation as the sound of British Asia. They are not to be missed! Said their frontman Shin: ‘Music is my life and I love sharing it with anyone who’ll listen. That’s why I love the Mela, it is a great way to introduce new people to Bhangra music and music is a great way to introduce people to new cultures. Glasgow was an awesome audience, the memory of performing at Mela last time will remain with me always. It was an incredible night, which is why I am really excited about returning.’
DCS will be joined on Saturday by the winner of the Best Urban Act Award at the UK AMAS and the Best British Asian Urban Act at the 2010 BritAsia awards, Mumzy Stranger, renowned for his unique style of urban music. And Bass2base, the first-ever Bollywood band to perform at the O2 Glasgow Mela, are set to delight festival-goers with their polished blend of new and old Bollywood styles with Bhangra, Hindi pop, funk, mehfil and urban sounds.
Other well-known urban artists certain to wow the crowds include Manak-E and Eletricat Brazilian Dance.
A new feature is a collaboration with eight schools across Glasgow. Priyanka Purohit, assistant to the legendary Bollywood choreographer Pratap Shetty, has been working with youngsters throughout the city who have been learning Bollywood, freestyle and Bhangra dance to perform on stage across the weekend.
Another innovation will be Dance Dhamaka. The aim of Dhamaka, meaning ‘explosion’, is to get Scotland dancing towards the Cultural Olympiads in 2012. To underline the multi-cultural nature of the Mela some of the most exciting dance groups in the country have been invited to perform. They will feature Flamenco, Chinese and Scottish dance.
The Kidz Zone will be dedicated to children. Other offerings include street theatre, arts, cultural exhibits and a trader’s bazaar with fine foods. Full details of the line ups for both days can be found at www.glasgowmela.com
Don’t miss the MELA this Sunday – 20 June! The Desi Bravehearts – pictured here in Kelvingrove Park where the event will be starting at 12 noon – will be only one of 16 dancers and entertainers of world renown on the Commonwealth Stage. There there is the world stage and the Kids’ Tent and performances and tips and Skate Park and traders and market stalls and ice cream and food and fashion and people watching and wonderful fun.
The 02 Sponsored event is Scotland’s biggest multi-cultural festival. Around 25,000 people are expected in this, it’s 20th year. The world’s most successful bhangra band will be there along with Bollywood stars Shak Rukh Khan and Sunny Deol. Rising star Jaz Dhami, voted Best Male at the 2010 Brit Asia Awards, will also be in the line-up. And even the Hellenic Dancers have a new and exciting routine to launch on the day. Don’t miss any of it!
World renowned make-up artist, ZaynaB, will attend the Occasions Scottish Asian Wedding Show on Sunday 4 April in the Radisson Blu Hotel in Glasgow. This international professional is known as the make-up Guru to Bollywood stars. She has provided the magic touch for people such as Keira Knightley, Rachel Weisz, Emilia Fox, two Miss Worlds and many Bollywood leading ladies.
Accompanied by her team of award-winning make-up artists, she will give tips to visitors and makeovers for brides-to-be at the glittering Wedding Show. Each visitor will receive a gift voucher for ZaynaB’s Provoke cosmetic range and one lucky person will win a VIP Bridal Make-Over with ZaynaB worth £2000 for their big day. This will include a bridal cosmetics hamper. Five runners-up will also win cosmetics hampers.
Said Tara of Provoke Cosmetics which are sought out by high profile celebrities: ‘Provoke cosmetics is pleased and excited to be taking part in the Occasions Scottish Asian Wedding Show. We are especially excited that our founder, ZaynaB, will be at the show. Visitors can enjoy personalised bridal consultations and tips and advice from her.’
Ladies attending the exciting and glamourous event, which is the third one to be organised by Oceanic, will discover how to get the perfect base for their make-up, how to achieve the current ‘must-have’ look and how to sign-up for make-up master classes with Zaynab.
The show opens at 12 noon and two fashion shows are scheduled. A full complement of wedding day services and companies specialising in organising such important events will be on hand to be consulted. For an outlay of only £5 per person, this glamorous day will be a boon and a blessing to anyone planning a wedding – Asian or Scottish.