On Sunday 4th of September all roads led to Gunnersbury Park, Ealing, London W3 for the annual Asian festival fun, food and feel good music, aka the London Mela.
Nuff people came down to represent and soak up the authentic atmosphere and quality music on offer. The main attraction coming in the form of Britain’s premier Asian export Jay Sean! Other key protagonists on the main stage included Asian Music Awards winner Mumzy Stranger and Canadian Crown Prince of Bhangra, Jazzy B.
A day that initially started out as a gloomy morning turned out to be a beautiful sunny afternoon in Gunnersbury Park. On arrival at the Park one was greeted with an array of market stalls, many of which were food stalls selling a variety of Asian and African, West Indian and Chinese cuisine. The smell alone enticed you to venture in further. There are also a variety of tents or zones evenly spaced around the perimeter consisting of a Mix tent; BBC Introducing…; A Classical stage; Community and Kids zone; Outdoor arts and In conversation with… The centrepiece of which was The Main Stage.
The ‘In conversation with…’ tent was naturally the centre of much attention as it all the days main protagonists were interviewed. The dedicated devotees got to be up close and personal with acts such as Ash King (Southall born-and-bred Bollywood singer – Ash King ); Humza Badman (The man behind the “Diary of a Badman” and the Youtube Comedian); Amir Khan (IBF and WBA World Light Welterweight Boxing Champion – Amir Khan) and of course Jay Sean (British Asian music royalty Jay Sean).
￼Amir Khan “In Conversation with…”
￼Ash King “In Conversation with…”
Vast amounts of people gravitated towards The BBC Asian Network Mix Tent. Given the stellar line-up of quality DJs it was no surprise. Those who attended were mesmerised by DJs spinning a combination of bhangra; hip-hop; funk; drum and bass; Desi beats; Bollywood and much more. A few of the 12 DJs on the show were Nihal; Metz & Trix; Jags Klimax; Sonny Ji and DJ Kayper. DJ Kayper also got major props on the main stage
Metz & Trix in the BBC Mix Tent
Nihal in the BBC Mix Tent
Shide Boss in the BBC Mix Tent
￼Ashanti Omkar (Compere & Curator, Classical Stage)
Other tents worthy of a mention included the Classical Tent – This year’s compere and co-curator once again being Ashanti Omkar, after her sterling job at the 2010 London Mela.
Samyo (the UK’s premier junior Indian orchestra)
This year’s classical stage paid homage to 2 renowned poets of the subcontinent, Nobel prize-winner Rabindranath Tagore and Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Lenin peace prize winner and Nobel nominee. Both individuals left an indelible imprint on the hearts and minds of classical arts lovers. In conjunction with the Indy Indie tent and the Community/Kids Zone, all bases were covered and all age groups catered and for.
However, it was the main stage it was the first focal point for the lion share of the morning and especially the afternoon. Talented and diverse artist such as Hunterz, Lehmber Hussainpuri, Mumzy Stranger and Jazzy B raised the temperature on a mildly overcast day as the grounds swelled in anticipation of the arrival of the main protagonists Jay Sean.
As the time rolled around to approximately 5:20 PM the main stage compere and BBC Asian network’s presenter Tommy Sandhu strode purposefully onto the stage to introduce north-west London’s prodigal son, Jay Sean.
￼As expected Jay Sean didn’t disappoint on his first UK live performance in three years, since his meteoric rise to fame in the USA. Classic Jay Sean favourites such as “Eyes on You,” “Stolen,” and “Ride It” where lapped up eagerly by his exuberant London Mela audience. We were taken again back down memory lane as Jay Sean hooked up with his homeboys from the Rishi Rich Project – Juggy D and Rishi Rich himself. Their energy was electric as they bounded across the stage and also battled on the turntables – a notable highlight!
With a few choice tracks from his recent “Freeze Time” album thrown into the mix the London Mela massive came, saw and were conquered by Prince Jay Sean and his merry men. At the end of a great day and a great festival, fans young and old were sent home with both their food and musical needs completely satisfied. Roll on London Mela 2012.
Michael J Edwards
￼Funfair & great tasting, diverse food at the London Mela