Mela brings cultures of the world to the Links

Scotland’s foremost celebration of cultural diversity through arts and culture returns this year with a packed programme, a new permanent home, and another quality world premiere.

The Edinburgh Mela Festival, taking place August 6 to 8, has moved to Leith Links for its three-day spectacle. This year features the premiere of CARGO, a Scottish Government funded large-scale outdoor performance on the theme of migration, which will run throughout August.

Funded and supported by the City of Edinburgh Council and Scottish Arts Council, the Mela will also feature live performances, dance, theatre, music and multimedia activities, along with a full programme of family and children events.

Speaking at the launch today (29 June), Liam Sinclair, Edinburgh Mela Festival Director, said:

“This year’s programme has lots of new and exciting elements which are sure to be a big hit with Mela goers. The move to Leith Links has given us the opportunity to build on last year’s offering, bringing regulars and new Mela visitors even more variety in music, dance, food and workshops from a range of cultures.

“We still have firm favourites including a specific programme for children featuring traditional arts and crafts among other activities. A dedicated outdoor space for our large-scale performances will feature CARGO and the Jaipur Kawa Circus from Rajasthan. Our big top tent will be host to our cross-festival collaboration, Naturally, Inspired, and our garden stage will see performances by home-grown talent Glasgow-based GTown Desi. A finale from BBC Asian Network’s DJ Wax in the Big Top will bring the event to a close.”

CARGO, co-funded with £250,000 from the Scottish Government’s Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund, is a large scale outdoor performance which weaves together intricate imagery, precarious physicality and a stunning soundtrack to portray the story of two people’s quest to find a place to call home and their daring journey across high-seas and troubled lands. Following its premiere at the Mela, the CARGO production will have an extended run at the Fringe Festival as part of the Made in Scotland programme.

Minister for Culture and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop said:

“This looks set to be another great year for the Edinburgh Mela. A new home at Leith Links offers boundless opportunities including the ability to stage shows like CARGO, which is an exciting and ambitious addition to this year’s programme. It is great to see the Mela and Fringe working together to allow Festival-goers the chance to see this unique collaboration throughout August. This is exactly what the Expo Fund is for – to showcase new work on an international stage and foster collaboration between the Festivals.”

Edinburgh Mela Festival Chair, Cllr Steve Cardownie, said:

“Community involvement with the Mela has grown year on year and we have continued to receive great support from local residents and businesses alike. The Mela is an event which has something for everyone from families with young children to art and music aficionados. This year’s programme brings together cultures from all over the world and continues to position the Mela as a key fixture on the Festival calendar.

“As ever, we are grateful to City of Edinburgh Council, Scottish Arts Council and the Scottish Government for their continued support. My thanks also go to The Forestry Commission and Scottish Natural Heritage, in helping bring together the children’s programme and to Lebara Mobile and Lothian and Borders Police and everyone else for all their hard work, support and dedication in delivering this year’s Mela.”

This year the Mela will also be at the Royal Botanic Gardens with Naturally, Inspired, new work inspired by Scotland’s landscapes and commissioned by the Mela. Naturally, Inspired, is a collaboration between the Edinburgh International Jazz and Blues Festival, the Mela and the Scottish International Storytelling Festival. Naturally, Inspired, features theatre, storytelling, music, dance and song.

Highlights of the programme include:
•A range of sporting activities at Leith Links supported by ActivCity and City of Edinburgh Council Culture and Sport.
•UK Asian Music Awards Best newcomer 2010 winner Punjabi singer Jaz Dhami, Punjabi rapper and songwriter duo Bonafide and Asian pop sensation Taz from Stereo Nation.
•Fresh faces to the urban music scene Northern Xposure, BAFTA nominated brother and sister rapping duo from Edinburgh, as well as drumming and dramatic dance from Guizhou Ethnic Arts from South West China.
•Torchbearers of a tradition that goes back over 700 years, Rizwan and Muazzam Mujahid Ali Khan, nephews of the late legendary Nusrat Fatheh Ali Khan, will be belting out high pitched Qawwalis (devotional music of the Sufis of Pakistan and India) in the Big Top.
•The Mela Fashion show catwalk will play host to a selection of Scottish saris, designed for the show by local designers and made from tweed donated by Harris Tweed Textiles.
•Something Relevant (STR), from India, will bring a fusion of funk, blues, reggae, rock, pop, soul & hip hop, from the streets of Mumbai.
•Jaipur Kawa Circus, a charming family story of a travelling circus troupe from Rajasthan using materials, rhythm and music to tell their tale, and Scotland’s own brass band performance by Ceol Mor, Aberdeen International Youth Festival’s big band.

Day passes, giving unlimited access; cost £2 each in advance, or £2.50 on the door. Under-12s go free.

Region: All
Start Date: 06/08/2010
End Date: 08/08/2010
Start Time: 12.00 to 20.00
Venue: Leith Links
Venue Address: Duncan Place, East Leith Links, Edinburgh,
Press Tickets: Available
Sponsorship: Not Available
Press Tickets:
Name: Shaheena Abbas
Phone: 0131 556 0770