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Nottingham’s South Asian Mela Festival Returns

Bartosz Kali

Nottingham Mela Network presents the annual Nottingham Mela Festival – the UK’s oldest South Asian festival. The celebrations return with a fuller programme than ever, with events throughout the summer as well as the famous weekend extravaganza.


This year, Nottingham Mela marks the significant 70th anniversary year of Indian Independence and the creation of Pakistan and the country later known as Bangladesh, offering a chance to reflect upon this historical moment through a fusion of South Asian ancient and classical forms with contemporary cutting-edge Asian-British arts and culture.


Launching Mela, New Art Exchange host a performance on 22 July by PunjabTronix, merging the electronic music of Mercury nominated performer DJ Swami, and renowned Punjabi folk musicians.


On 10 August, to mark the days and moments when the Independence of India became a reality, Nottingham Mela presents Conversations in Rhythm – a collaboration between table prodigy Sanju Sahai, innovative percussionist Bernhard Schimpelsberger and guitarist Giuliano Moderaelli. Bringing together their unique instruments from all corners of the World, the musicians will use Konnakol – the ancient rhythm language of India -to create a narrative that spans across cultures and generations.


Nottingham Mela Weekender returns for their annual weekend celebrations, taking place at New Art Exchange and the majestic grounds of Nottingham Castle. The programme features of spectacular performances, authentic street food stalls, active games and family friendly workshops.


The festivities continue all day Saturday at New Art Exchange, who are hosting two South Asian inspired exhibitions, Bhairav, by acclaimed Indian artists Nikhil Chopra, Munir Kabani and others, and Dam Pani by Birmingham-based Pakistani artist Tasawar Bashir, paying homage to the famed Pakistani Qawwali singer, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, on the 20th anniversary of his passing.


Alongside the exhibitions, the day will host family activities, live music performances and a theatre performance by Peter Chand, Tongue, Tied and Twisted, which retells South Asian stories in English language, fusing Urban Hip Hop and Classical South Asian sounds.

On Sunday, Mela continues in the open air, in the majestic landscaped grounds of Nottingham Castle. To coincide with National Heritage Open Days, the historic site will be filled with a colourful range of activities for the whole family to enjoy including: a dance programme, a line-up of live music performances, sports, street-food stalls, art and craft workshops for children and much more!

The music stage is compered by Nottingham’s very own beatboxer and R&B soul singer, Danny Ladwa, and includes UK’s leading classical Indian/Indo jazz Saxophonist, Jesse Bannister. The dance tent includes Manushi Dance Company performing the graceful Indian classical dance of kathak, and Shakti Dance present energetic Bollywood and bhangra styles.



Event Details


Friday 22 July, 7.30pm – 9.30pm



Thursday 10 August, 7pm – 9.30pm:

Conversations in Rhythm


Nottingham Mela Weekender

Friday 8 – Saturday 9 September at New Art Exchange

Sunday 10 September at Nottingham Castle


Friday 20 October, Time TBC:

A dance evening to mark Diwali hosted by Dance 4

Posted on 21 July 2017

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