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The 15th London Mela: Asian Glastonbury

On Sunday 3rd September 2017, SEEN hears that the fabulous Zee London Mela will celebrate Asian culture by showcasing a combination of legends, international artists, national treasures, local talent, comedy, cabaret, Bollywood and a few guilty pleasures – to celebrate its 15th Anniversary.  This cornucopia of delights will be returning to the glorious grounds of Gunnersbury Park in West London where there will truly be something for everyone and it is FREE of charge. Think Asian Glastonbury…

This year’s theme is ‘Love’: a celebration of the positive force that makes the world go round and brings all communities together. The Zee London Mela will be a timely symbol of our wonderfully diverse city that is strong and united, in current divisive times. It celebrates a rainbow of cultures and traditions at a time when this is under threat. It is a wonderful reminder that above all, love always wins. SEEN can’t wait; it has the potential to help heal many cultural wounds.

The Zee London Mela is one big melting pot of a party celebrating through music, dance, food and culture, the traditions of the huge number of diverse communities who live as one in this dynamic city. The Zee London Mela has the best in British Asian urban artists, Asian artists, dance, Bollywood, classical music, comedy and cabaret, Asian-influenced street theatre and circus, across four major stages.

This year’s Zee Main Stage, in association with Sunrise Radio, features special exclusive performances from India’s Queen of Hip Hop, Hard Kaur flying in from Mumbai especially and from the streets of Amritsar, the Bhangra pop maestros Desi Crew will make a special one-off appearance. They are joined by the biggest selling female Bhangra artist in the world, Miss Pooja and after blowing away the crowds last year, India’s first SKA band, funky 8-piece, The Ska Vengers return.

Mercury Music Prize winner Talvin Singh, OBE, has been commissioned to curate the Anokha stage creating the perfect club in a completely blacked-out space 20 years after the release of the ground-breaking Anokha Soundz of the Asian Underground album. In keeping with the Asian Underground retrospective, DJ Rekha is jetting in from New York following her Central Park 20th anniversary Basement Bhangra show. She’ll warm up for British Asian underground legends Asian Dub Foundation, who close the ZEE Main Stage, before a spectacular finale show involving a crane and 9 crazy French clowns dangling from it, the Mobile Homme from Transe Express, collaborating with The Dhol Academy from East London.

And it’s not just compelling music, taste buds can be tickled at The Taste of Asia too, with the biggest South Asian food market this side of New Delhi, and shopping galore at the Mela Bazaar with international market stalls, a gigantic funfair and a firework finale all thrown in. There’s even Magic Mela, an oasis of fun and exploration dedicated to children for play and creativity, with a London premiere of Zamana (Urdu for Time), which creates the illusion of flying beneath a giant helium balloon, proving that the Zee London Mela really is for everyone.

If you miss the fun at Gunnersbury Park then the London Mela will be presenting Croydon International Mela at Wandle Park for the first time on 30th September and Festival of Fire and Light @ Wembley Park on the last weekend in October.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “This wonderful family event showcases the fantastic diversity of Asian arts and culture in the capital, and invites Londoners from all backgrounds to come together and get involved. Over the last 15 years, the Mela really has gone from strength to strength, with fantastic street theatre, dancing and delicious Asian cuisine. It’s events like this, taking place in all corners of the city that remind us that London Is Open, for all of our communities and to the world.”

Ajay Chhabra, Artistic Director said: “We are inviting all Londoners to this year’s ZEE London Mela, to celebrate the diversity of our great city. What London needs right now is a coming together, a sense of joy in cultures and communities and this is an open invite to you all. This year is a special one, it’s our 15th anniversary and we are returning to our home, Gunnersbury Park in West London with our best line up yet. From international artists to showcasing local talent, the Mela brings us all together.  This years theme is ‘Love’, love will conquer hate.”

Julian Rudd, Creative Producer said: “It’s fantastic to be working with The Mayor of London and ZEE TV to bring the London Mela home to Gunnersbury Park as a free event once again. An extraordinary artistic programme featuring the very best of South Asian music, arts and family entertainment is awaiting audiences of all ages. The Tastes of Asia Food Market and the extraordinary finale show are just some of the many delights the ZEE London Mela will cook up for you this year.”

Parul Goel, ZEE Europe’s Deputy CEO & CFO said: “We are honoured to sponsor ZEE London Mela again this year after last year’s huge success. ZEE London Mela brings people of all diversities and ethnicities together which gels with ZEE’s philosophy of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbkham’ which means ‘The World is my Family.’ Our endeavour is to engage and inspire the youth, society and the nation imbibing this philosophy. ZEE London Mela brings you the latest talent from the entertainment space across industries yet another year trying to bring happiness and smiles to its audience across the great city of London.”

Zee Mela
Gunnersbury Park
W3 8LQ