Board gets top billing at the Mela
A GIANT Bollywood billboard and one of the world's biggest-selling bhangra artists in the world will be among the main attractions at this year's Edinburgh Mela festival.
Organisers of the Capital's multi-cultural extravaganza have unveiled a star-studded line-up which they hope will draw record crowds to the multicultural celebration at Pilrig Park this weekend.
Top bhangra musician Malkit Singh will headline the event, and a host of other artists, singers and dancers have also been confirmed for the main stages.
Punjab-born Singh has recorded smash-hit singles for some of India's most successful Bollywood films during his 20-year career.
The bhangra star will replace the original headliner, hip-hop artist Rishi Rich, who pulled out earlier this year due to a mix-up over tour dates.
Upcoming Yorkshire-based ska/punk band Jinx and the Pakistani boy band NRG are also due to perform at the event.
One innovation for this year's festival is a huge billboard showing the giant faces of film stars Aishwarya Rai and Shah Rukh Khan.
Part of the actors' eyes have been cut away, leaving head-sized spaces. Visitors can climb behind the billboard, peer through the gap and have their photo taken.
Shaheen Unis, Edinburgh Mela co-founder and board director, said: "This billboard is both fun and inspiring. It is a perfect way to promote the visual arts and adds an important extra dimension to an already diverse programme of events.
"We expect a large number of visitors at the arts pavilion and I'm pleased that we can also confirm such a varied line-up of acts.
"The Edinburgh Mela aims to support up-and-coming acts as well as those who are already established. This year, with Malkit Singh and these young fresh talented groups performing, I'm sure no-one will be disappointed."
TV presenter Tasmin Lucia Khan, who hosted the Mela in 2004, will be returning to compere the main stage this year.
The Five presenter started her broadcasting career in 1999 with Asian TV network Zee TV and is also a professional model.
Ms Khan said: "Being asked to come back and compere is very exciting, as Edinburgh is a really vibrant city.
"This year's line-up for the Mela is an awesome mix of cultural styles, and I am really looking forward to partying with many Scottish Mela visitors."
The stalls at this year's event will include a mixture of influences and themes from around the globe, including contributions from Chile and China.
Organisers have also confirmed that there will be performers and artists from Uganda, South India, Brazil and Nepal, as well as a vocal group comprised of young refugees from around the world.
Lord Provost Lesley Hinds, who is also chairwoman of the Mela board, said:
"The acts we have performing provide a wonderful eclectic mix of style and sounds from all over the world that will appeal to both the young and older generations"
Organisers are hoping that this year's Mela will be even more successful than last year's event, which attracted more than 60,000 visitors to Pilrig Park.
The Edinburgh Mela is billed as the Scotland's biggest multicultural festival.
It was set up in 1995 by the Capital's Pakistani, Indian and Bangladeshi communities, and has since evolved into a celebration of cultures and traditions from across the globe, including China, Africa and South America.
Melas are held across the UK, having first been established in the 1980s, and are designed to break down barriers between different races and ethnic groups.
One of the main purposes of the Mela is to give a stage to British-based performers who may not otherwise get a chance to appear before such large crowds.
As well as singers, dancers and performers, the cultural extravaganza will also feature a bazaar selling clothes, fabrics, jewellery and crafts .
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Sunday 19 May 2013
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