THE 2013 Mela promises to be one of Leith’s biggest parties ever as dance legends The Orb and Ghanian master drummers Kakatsitsi, head to the Links this weekend.
The Orb and Kakatsitsi will be pulling together traditional African and contemporary western dance music to provide a foot-stomping finale to this year’s August festivals.
“The Mela is now Scotland’s biggest and best celebration of world music and dance. When I took over the reins last year we promised we would raise our game and we are delivering on that promise,” says artistic director Chris Purnell.
“Our mission is to attract the best quality acts from the World scene, turning the Mela into the premier destination for artists and audiences alike, and this year’s programme puts that into action.
“We’re also committed to providing a national showcase for the world-class art coming out of Scotland’s diverse communities.”
Consequently, this year’s Mela, which runs tomorrow and Sunday, from noon to 9pm each day, includes music from Cuba, West Africa, Brazil, Senegal, Ghana, Spain, Kenya, and China, while still paying tribute to the festival’s roots with a wide range of south Asian music. The programme also be celebrates 100 years of Bollywood cinema with two history-steeped shows from the Bollywood Acoustic Band and the Edinburgh Bollywood Dancers.
Split over three stages - Main Stage, Mix Stage and Dance Feste - tomorrow’s highlights on the main stage include Swaryatra: Bollywood Unlimited (12.30pm), enchanting Bollywood numbers performed live on stage and Delhi 2 Dublin (4.45pm), the highly-charged Vancouver-based act who combine dhol and electric sitar with traditional Celtic fiddle, breakbeats and dub.
On Sunday, Edinburgh Chinese Choir showcase the beauty of Chinese folk songs at 2.15pm, while the The Orb with Kakatsitsi bring this years event to a close at 7.20pm.
Over at Dance Feste, don’t miss Crucible, a visually stunning piece for the Mela’s outdoor performance space by Foundation for Indian Performing Arts. In Crucible, the dancers, who incorporate stilt-work into their performances, take on the roles of the Earth Goddess, the Divine Being, and the gods of fire and water, to engage in a cosmic circle of song and dance.
This weekend, it seems Leith Links is the only place to be.
• 2013 Mela, Leith Links, tomorrow and Sunday, 12-9pm, £4 (under 12s free), 0131-226 0008. For full programme details visit www.edinburgh-mela.co.uk