By Lachman Balani
TORONTO: Masala! Mehndi! Masti!, North America’s largest FREE international South Asian festival which was born in Toronto in 2001, is set to rock Dubai today. The festival runs till Nov 24.
This FREE festival of music, dance and the arts brings together diverse cultural elements and creates a link between them all.
Running for 11 years, the festival has seen the likes of Jay Sean, Rishi Rich and Juggy D, RDB, Indian Ocean, Salman Ahmad (Junoon), Abhay Deol, Deepa Mehta, Lisa Ray, Rahul Bose, Boman Irani,Nandita Das, Amaan and Ayaan Ali Khan, Shiamak Davar and hundreds of other artists – established and emerging, classical and contemporary, traditional and fusion – perform to hundreds of thousands.
Headlining the first edition of the festival outside of Canada on the opening night (Nov 22) are Bollywood music maestros Salim and Sulaiman Merchant who will be accompanied by UAE-born, Canada based singer Shweta Subram. The set will feature high energy super-hit songs of Salim and Sulaiman from films such as Heroine, Jodi Breakers, Kurbaan, Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, Fashion, Aaja Nachle, Chak De India!, Dhoom:2, Dor, Krrish, Salaam Namaste, Dhoom to name a few.
Winners of the massive reality TV show, India’s Got Talent, and fresh from performing with Amitabh Bachchan on Kaun Banega Crorepati, the Shillong Chamber Choir from Meghalaya, India, will perform a repertoire of classical, jazz and musica sacra on day two (Nov 23).
Canadian artists – The Tabla Guy and Mason Bach – will present kLoX, a fusion of classical tabla, electronica violin and DJ music, while Trinidadian music ambassador SW Storm will bring an Indo-Caribbean flavor to the stage.
Pakistani songstress Shazia Khushk presents Sindhi, Baluchi and Urdu popular songs, while Afghani-Europeans Besho (from Germany) and Mirwais (from Sweden) perform modern Afghani-pop styles.
UAE-based artists will be represented by the likes of Pali Chandra’s Kathak Dance Company and Gurukul School presenting their stunning piece Sufi-Noor. Local singers and bands line-up includes Tripple Sec, Santripti Vellody, Richard Wilson, Nepali rock band Mul Ghar, who have been selected through an open Call for Submissions that was released earlier in the month and juried by the festival team in Canada.
A popular component of the festival called “Bhanging in the Park” will feature rising Dubai-based Punjabi pop-star N Gill, as well as traditional Bhangra artists
There will also be a comedy segment headed by UAE’s premier comedian Nitin Mirani, who has performed in Canada, the US , India , Hong Kong and several other places around the globe and was recently featured in the prestigious Rolling Stone magazine as one of today’s greatest stand-up comedians!
A children’s section entitled “Baccha Party!” featuring young talent from the community is in the works as are workshops in dance and music that will take place during the festival.
The entire festival is free and takes place on the World Culture Stage, Community Stage and India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka pavilion stages at Global Village. Bazaars in these South Asian pavilions offer an incredible array of traditional and unique products for sale at fantastic prices and there are numerous South Asian food outlets at the park featuring a range of traditional fare. Park admission to Global Village is only AED 10.
For additional information and complete event listings, please visit http://www.masalamehndimasti.co/m or email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 055 552 5476.