Event horizon - Edinburgh Mela

This article is from 2008.

Edinburgh Mela

While Charlotte Square Gardens, The Hub and Pleasance may think they are at the heart of the August experience, there are other cultural bonanzas going on around them. Anna Millar takes a look at some of the other Festival action

Often unfairly ensconced in the shadow of its bigger festival siblings, The Edinburgh Mela has enjoyed rude health in recent years, the culmination of which has led to a move this year from its usual residence in Pilrig Park to a more expansive one, both within and outside Leith’s Ocean Terminal. Its usual weekend spot has also been extended into a week-long programme, building on last year’s success.

As Scotland’s biggest intercultural festival, the Mela has long provided a colourful backdrop to both local and international talents, affording the definitive multicultural experience for all ages from theatre, dance and music to stalls and activities. Festival organisers are keen to make this year’s event bolder than ever before with both indoor and outdoor events, including a big top tent, boasting a programme of dance, music and theatre. The week long festivities start in style with Mela favourite, Sakhian — ladies only night — which for the first time will include a staged drama as well as a disco and a performance by bhangra singer, Des-C.

Elsewhere, film and theatre provide new elements to the festival, with a series of films and documentaries shown at VUE Cinemas throughout the Mela. Theatre highlights include Theatre Insaan’s Jihad: Inner Struggle. Dance and physical theatre must-sees include London-based Akademi, who specialise in large-scale South Asian dance. Elsewhere, UpSwing showcase an array of aerial performances while internationally recognised producer Rishi Rich also features as part of the weekend highlights, along with artists Juggy D and Veronica.

In trademark Mela style, fashion will not go unnoticed and is set to be celebrated with the return of the festival’s popular fashion show element, boasting a mix of couture fashion and Bollywood dancing. Proceedings will come to a suitably gallus conclusion with Mother India 21st Century (MI21), offering a contemporary live re-scoring version of the original Mother India, a tour-de-force of Indian cinematic history, led by award winning turntablist DJ Tigerstyle.

The Edinburgh Mela, 25-31 Aug, www.edinburgh-mela.co.uk

Edinburgh Mela

World music, dance, fashion, food and fun. During the week the Mela takes over various venues around Leith.

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