ome the beginning of September when festival fatigue is reaching terminal point Edinburgh is all set for a revitalising shot of fiesta fever in the form of the city‘s first Mela. For one weekend Meadowbank Stadium will play host to the biggest multicultural carnival that the city has ever seen. Artists and performers from Beijing to Bombay via Bamako will join forces with local
10The List 25 Aug-7 Sept 1995
A two da art ‘? Jonathan Trew investigates. C‘
folk to celebrate the rich arts world different communities who live in lidinburgh. The idea for the Mela started to form in 1993 when members of Iidinburgh‘s ethnic minority communities suggested that there was no forum for the expression of their cultures on a broader platform. Integrating the Mela with the
Edinburgh Festival seemed a positive way of
sharing the Mela‘s delights with a wider audience and the organisers hope that the Mela
will become an annual event. thought of in the same way as Fringe Sunday or the Fireworks. Two years and buckets of sweat after its initial conception. the Asian. (‘hinese and Afro- (Taribbean communities have come tip with a superb programme ofentertaimnent that should guarantee a cracking family day ottt as well as a kicking couple of nights grooving for the dancefloor divas. Misbah llussain. co-ordinator of the festival says "l‘he Mela is a microcosm of the Edinburgh Festival in that there are international artists alongside community- based events. The traditional Mela audience is different from the Fringe audience; we hope to combine the two elements and make the Fringe more colourful.‘
Taking the Mela to the people and spreading the good word is the Mela roadshow, a mobile party-cum-sound system which will be touring around Lothian in the week preceeding the event. Mela FM. which broadcasts on 107.2 FM. will keep the airwaves crackling with life for anyone who misses the roadshow.
Over the two days of the Mela. culture hoovers can take their pick from some of the biggest stars on the world stage including Papa Wemba. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and the famous Bollywood playback singer. Anuradha l’audwal. Bttt the big names are not the be all and end all of the Mela by any means. the organisers are keen to make the festival fun for everyone and not just the music buffs. Food from the five continents will entice the gourmet while the Mela Bazaar provides the opportunity to browse among the consumer goodies from kaftans to kulfi. The more energetic can try dance workshops, Bhangra sessions. archery. t‘ai chi. fencing and karate. The more sedate might prefer some Bangladeshi drama, African story-telling or the chanting workshop. Catwalk aficionados will want to check out the explosion of colours that is the fashion show. Assorted local and not-so-local sound systems will ensure that the entire event is set to a musical backbeat to get slinky to. And the good news for those whose wallets have been cleaned out by the Fringe is that entry to the vast majority of the Mela is free. Go catch some sunshine.
The [Edinburgh Mela. Mearlawbank Stadium, Lam/an Road. Sat 2/.S'an 3 Sept. starts noon Sat. ends [0.30am Sun. All free apart from eight events for it'ltt'e/z tie/vets are available from 'I‘t’eket/ine an 220 4349 and the Fringe Bar ()fﬁr‘e ()n 226 5257.