The 17th edition of the London Mela is back with a bang as it returns to Southall Park for a jam-packed weekend of South Asian music, dance, food and culture.
Southall, the heart of the South Asian community since the 1950’s, is a thriving hub of culture all year round, but when the Mela comes to town it goes one further and becomes the biggest and best South Asian festival this side of Mumbai.
The Mela is best known for its adventurous, genre-crossing collaborations with contemporary artists and 2019’s festival raises the bar. Saturday sees Canadian-pop-reggae-r&b-fusion artist Raghav headline the festival, performing his top tracks from his three studio albums including his smash hit Angel Eyes, whilst one of the biggest UK Asian artists Arjun will headline on Sunday. Born in Sri Lanka, his extensive online following and heartthrob status has secured his place as the most viewed UK Asian artist on YouTube in 2016.
Every year the London Mela goes one further in order to create exceptional, one-off collaborations and exclusive unique experiences for festival go-ers and this year is no different. Specially commissioned by the London Mela, The Great British Desi Collaboration is a collective of the hottest current independent Asian artists including F1rstman, H-Dhami, Juggy D and Mumzy Stranger who will all be hitting up the mainstage with their hit single ‘Dance’ (that has had over two million views on YouTube) and many more.
In 2018 legendary producer, composer and musician Kuljit Bhamra MBE also known for his work on Bend it like Beckham, Indiana Jones & The Temple Of Doom, and Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, explored the Sounds of Southall, looking at the origins of Bhangra Music through three generations. 2019 sees its second and final instalment with the Sounds of Smethwick, the UK’s second home of Bhangra sounds, featuring Shin (from the band DCS), Kulwant Bhambra & Sardara Gill (Apna Sangeet) and Balbir Bhujhangy (Bhujhangy).
There’s more than music to discover at the London Mela, as the festival boasts one of the biggest Asian food markets in London, Taste of Asia, with hundreds of tastebud-tingling dishes on offer throughout the park. The Magic Mela family area returns for 2019, a world of discovery and adventure for little ones with activities galore including the cricket stimulator, climbing wall and cycling smoothie makers all powered by Let’s Go Southall to help promote active and healthy lifestyles. On top of that the fun fair next door will provide hours of entertainment for children and adults alike.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “London Mela is a wonderful showcase of South Asian culture, with its wide range of music, dance, food and games. It’s a real celebration of the community’s impact on our city, a key date in the capital’s calendar and another great example of how London is open to all.”
Speaking about the line-up, Artistic Director Ajay Chhabra said “It is always such a pleasure to programme the London Mela as we welcome artists from all over the world, from so many different generations and representing such a diverse mix of genres, to perform on our stages. London is a colourful melting pot of cultures and ethnicities and we are proud to represent that at the London Mela every year, inviting everyone to come along and party with us. Every year the festival gets bigger and better – we can’t wait to get started!”
The London Mela is produced by Remarkable Productions and supported by Arts Council England, Mayor of London, Ealing Council and Nutkhut.
Sponsored by Let’s Go Southall, in association with Sunrise Radio, BBC Asian Network and ZEE TV.