Bhangra stars drum up cash for Pakistani flood crisis

A CHART-topping Bhangra band is set to perform a sell-out gig in Edinburgh in aid of the devastating Pakistan floods.

Sahara, who have reached the number one slot in both the Bollywood and Bhangra charts, agreed to play the one-off gig to help raise money for the millions affected by the disaster.

The UK band, who last played the Capital during the Edinburgh Mela in 2004 and sold out within a few hours, are hoping to fill the Assembly Rooms for the September performance.

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Pakistani community organiser, Amer Masood, said he had come up with the event after hearing several horror tales from Pakistanis living across Scotland. He said: "The situation there is terrible and we want to help raise some funds. The band agreed to play this gig for us when they heard what it was for.

"One of my friends lost his six-month-old niece in the floods after she was swept out of her mother's arms. The force of the waves carried her away.

"We're leaving the event to the end of the September because Ramadan starts tomorrow. It means people will be fasting for a month so it's not politically acceptable right now and people will be tired. But when we hold the concert we want to raise at least 10,000 for the British Red Cross."

Mr Masood, from Marchmont, said that they expected a large proportion of the Asian community to attend the gig due to Sahara's international popularity. The biggest Pakistani broadcast network, Prime TV, has agreed to film the concert.

He said that tickets would cost around 10, but the team will be encouraging everyone who attends to offer an extra donation to the cause or donate clothes and blankets to the charity.

Mr Masood, 35, said: "The tickets will be going up for sale in all Asian shops across Edinburgh next week. We're confident they'll sell out, especially after the race there was for tickets at Edinburgh Mela.

"We're also going to have some political speakers at the concert, including MSP Sarah Boyack, councillor Angela Blacklock and hopefully the Government Minister for Pakistanis overseas, Dr. Muhammad Sattar."

He added: "We want to educate people about the floods because it is the worst disaster in Pakistan's history. More than 2,000 are dead and 12,000 are homeless, so hopefully we can chip in and make a bit of a difference."

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Sahara, which is made up of three brothers, was nominated for Best British Band at the Asian Music Awards 2003. They have toured in Canada, Norway, India and Pakistan. They are currently working on their fourth album, Disputed.

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