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Something for everyone at London Mela: live music, dance, visual arts and food!

7 Aug


Event: London Mela 2013

Venue: Gunnersbury Park, Ealing, London W3

Date:    Sunday 1 September 2013

Time:    1pm – 9.00pm


Nearest Tube: Acton Town

Information: /

Media wishing to attend must register for accreditation in advance – email
Gerry Lyseight:

The London Mela – Europe’s largest outdoor south Asian festival – returns to Gunnersbury Park, Acton, on Sunday 1 September. Last year’s Mela was a creative triumph spectacularly celebrating the events tenth edition on the hottest day of a golden 2012 summer. This year the festival is set to be even bigger and better than ever, with nine zones including The Main Stage, The BBC Asian Network Mix Tent, The Classical Stage, The Magic Mela Family Area, spectacular Outdoor Arts performances, Tastes of South Asia Food market, Funfair, craft and exhibitors market, plus a new sports area featuring Skype Cricket Nets and Sporting Equals.

Free, family-friendly and universally loved, the London Mela is produced by Ealing and Hounslow Councils and supported by the Mayor of London, with BBC Asian Network a major partner for the 8th successive year. Featuring a huge variety of artists from around the world as well as a plethora of homegrown acts, the London Mela truly has something for everyone.

Main Stage:

Hosted by BBC Asian Network presenters Tommy Sandhu, Noreen Khan, Bobby Friction and Suzi Mann. Highlights of the bill include:

AS Kang.

Bally Sagoo 




Raasmasters feat Absolute Bollywood Dancers 


(please scroll down for biographies)

Classical Stage:

On the Classical Stage – supported by the British Heart Foundation and compered by Ashanti Omkar – there will be performances celebrating Asian communities’ heritage, This year’s Classical stage is honoured to host the Philharmonia Orchestra performing with Amaan and Ayaan Ali Khan, and conducted by David Murphy, who recently conducted the World Premiere of the Symphony by Ravi Shankar at the Royal Festival Hall.


Amaan and Ayaan Ali Khan

This is a new presentation of Ustad Amjad Ali Khan’s “Samaagam”* produced especially for the London Mela and performed by composer’s two sons Amaan and Ayaan. Amaan and Ayaan are masters of the lute-like Sarod and are the 5th generation in a family of musicians who claim their ancestor, Mohammad Hashmi Khan Bangash, invented the instrument. Amaan and Ayaan have also presented the Indian talent show Sa Re Ga Ma and recorded fusion and world albums. Like Vanessa Mae they have a celebrity profile to go with their virtuosity.

*Meaning confluence, or ‘coming together’, Samaagam is based on ragas for the different season of the year and explores the common roots of the music of India and the West.

BBC Asian Network New Music:

Hosted by Nihal, Yasser and Kan-D-Man and Limelight


Charlie Sloth

Pure Music Generals

Steel Banglez presents K&K, Cashtastic & Yungen

Lost Souljah


Specialist DJs: Yasser, Panjabi Hit Squad, Kan-D-Man & Limelight

Outdoor Arts:

Nukhut celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the award-winning arts company with 10 larger than life characters, celebrating each year of the company’s involvement with the Mela since its inception, animating the open spaces of the event with a specially choreographed dance piece.

Nutkhut’s latest show – Swyron – A Vedic meets Victoriana inspired, Steampunk super sleuth, will make its UK Mela Premier at this year’s event.

Spellbound (a.k.a Rama and Sita)

created by Walk the Plank

The Classical Stage plays host to a spectacular finale presented by outdoor arts specialists Walk the Plank

Spellbound is a thrilling tale of love, jealousy, betrayal and daring told through shadow theatre – a modern take on shadow play using real life, local performers in place of puppetry.  Inspired by the ancient Indian epic Ramayana, the story follows the destiny of soon-to-be King Rama and Queen Sita, and the twist of fate that sees their future placed in peril. A fusion of traditional dance, theatre, pyrotechnics and fiery special effects guarantees Spellbound will provide a spectacular conclusion to the London Mela’s 11th Edition.

Follow #Spellbound on Twitter

Magic Mela (by Emergency Exit Arts with Hounslow Youth Service) –

For children and the forever young there is Magic Mela – in association with Emergency Exit Arts – a delightful, interactive space where visitors can experience the magic of the Family Area, Tastes of South Asia Food market, Funfair, craft market, exhibitors, Skype Cricket Nets, Sporting Equals.

The London Mela Fashion Show – join us for an exclusive preview of the Neishaa Gharat For Oxfam collection.

Oxfam Tent, 1.30pm, 4pm and 6pm.

Global Local

Long time friends of the London Mela bring their typically diverse selection of live bands to the party.

Artistic Director Ajay Chhabra says:This year’s London Mela offers one of the most ambitious and authentic arts programmes across the UK Mela sector. As an artistically led festival, firmly rooted in the community, we are proud of the unique way in which audiences, artist and participants, alongside our funders and sponsors, all come together and celebrate.

Councillor Julian Bell, Leader of Ealing Council says: “Last year saw record numbers attend this fantastic event in Gunnersbury Park and Ealing Council is proud to be a co-host once again. The London Mela provides a great opportunity for all people in the community to come together to discover the best of south Asian arts and culture.”

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson says: “I am delighted to support this great London event, which in exuberant style showcases the huge variety of Asian arts and culture. We may be approaching the end of the summer, but the London Mela always delivers a sizzling day out for Londoners of all ages and from all backgrounds.”

Cllr Jagdish Sharma, Leader of the London Borough of Hounslow, says: “As home to one of the most culturally diverse communities in London, the London Borough of Hounslow is delighted to once again welcome the London Mela to Gunnersbury Park.  Last year’s 10th anniversary event proved that the London Mela is now a well- established event for the capital, highlighting everything that’s good about South Asian culture and the important role it now plays in the everyday lives of Londoners in general.“

Mark Strippel, Head of Music and Events, BBC Asian Network, says: “BBC Asian Network are bringing another fantastic music line-up to the London Mela Main Stage with sets from our DJ’s in our Mix Tent. We’ll be getting our London listeners involved in our live broadcast on the day and presenting highlights on BBC TV Red Button.”

Public information is available at



For media enquiries – including details about press accreditation on the day – please contact: Gerry Lyseight, / 020 7095 8146 (number not for publication).

For BBC Asian Network media enquiries, please contact Andrew Francis at

For more details on the artists and hi-res photos, click here.


Main Stage:

Hosted by BBC Asian Network presenters Tommy Sandhu, Noreen Khan, Bobby Friction and Suzi Mann. Highlights of the bill include:

AS Kang is undoubtedly one of the biggest stars in the Punjabi music scene and the only Punjabi singer to have hit songs in 5 consecutive decades as well as being the first UK-based Punjabi artist to break into the Indian Market.

He has just released his first album for over 10 years ‘The Maestro’ produced by heavyweight Bhangra producer, Sukshinder Shinda

Bally Sagoo is regarded as one of the pioneers of the British Asian Music scene. His Bollywood remixes (Chura Liya, Mera Laung Gawacha) are refix classics and his collaboration with Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan on the album ‘Magic Touch’ brought him international fame. He was the first Indian to be playlisted on National Radio, when “Chura Liya” was played on BBC Radio 1, and went on to tour India with Michael Jackson on the HIStory Tour.

Falak hails from Karachi, Pakistan and his debut single Rog was a massive hit. In 2012 he featured on the soundtrack for the film ‘7 Welcome to London’ receiving critical praise for his song ‘Tera Saath Ho’. He continued his success in 2013 by lending his voice to Bollywood films: I, Me Aur Main, Nautanki Saala and I love NY.

Nafees released his debut single ‘Mehmaan’ in 2011 which was massive. He followed this success by releasing ‘Bukhaar’ which went straight to Number 1 in the Official Asian Download Chart. His singles ‘Dua’ and  ‘Teri Yaadon Mein’ remain favourites. His new release “Sazaa” sees him teaming up with Mumzy Stranger.

Arjun Singer-songwriter and producer Arjun was born in Sri Lanka and moved to the UK when he was 4 years old. From an early age, he learned to play the piano, guitar, saxophone and drums. He won Best Urban Act at the UK Asian Music Awards and is most famous for his singles “Run Away” and “Vampire” which features Raxstar.

Raasmasters feat Absolute Bollywood Dancers Raas Masters is a collaboration between a team of UK producers and Indian singers and musicians led by UK Producer Jkeyz and India’s Harish Patel. They call their genre of Gujarati dance pop music – G POP or Gujji Pop

Their name is derived from “Raas” the traditional Indian folk dance performed with sticks.

San2 At the age of 22 years old, San2 came from nowhere. His debut track ‘Nayo Lagda’ went straight to number 1 in the ITUNES world chart with its soulful qawwali vibe.

The London Mela takes place in Gunnersbury Park, Popes Lane, London W3 on Sunday 1 September from 1pm to 8.30pm.  Nearest underground is Acton Town. The park is in the Boroughs of Hounslow (although owned by both Ealing and Hounslow Boroughs), and is one of the largest green spaces in west London. The event is free and open to all.

The London Mela is produced by Ealing Council, and supported by the Mayor of London and London Borough of Hounslow.  Other partners include BBC Asian Network. The main sponsor this year is Skype with British Heart Foundation and Oxfam as charity partners.

BBC Asian Network is a national digital radio station providing speech and music appealing to anyone interested in British Asian lifestyles. The station broadcasts the best in Bollywood and Bhangra music, as well as R’n’B and Hip Hop and British Asian Underground. The Asian Network also broadcasts news, discussion programmes, documentaries and reflects British Asian arts and culture. You can listen to the Asian Network online (, via DAB radio, on digital TV and via the BBC Radio Player.

Mela is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘to meet’, which is used to describe all sorts of community celebrations and festivals in the Asian subcontinent.

13.2% of London’s population is Asian [2001 census], making up more than one in eight Londoners. The London Borough of Ealing has one of the largest Asian communities in London (24% – 73,851). Hounslow has 24.7%, Brent has 27.8% and Harrow has 29.7% of its population as Asian – all neighbours of Ealing.

For more details on the artists and hi-res photos, click here.

The Excitements – Sometimes Too Much Ain’t Enough

7 Aug

The new album: “Sometimes Too Much Ain’t Enough” released on September 30, 2013 via Penniman Records


The Excitements have been tearing it up Europe-wide since their 2010 beginnings as well as having sessions with Craig Charles’s Funk and Soul Show on BBC 6 Music under their snakeskin belts.

Their new single harks back to New Orleans legends such as Professor Longhair and Clarence “Frogman” Henry and lays down a path to their long playing release due in September on the Penniman label (the label’s name itself a tribute to Richard Wayne Penniman aka Little Richard – rock and roll’s enduring king of all things extravagantly and flamboyantly unhinged).

Listen to the new single here:‏

Who are The Excitements?

In early 2010, the sonic whirlwind known as The Excitements emerged in Barcelona, Spain, delivering its Rhythm ‘n’ Blues and Soul cocktail, old school style, and astounding audiences over the country and, shortly after, Europe.

Photo by Ran-el Cabrera

Photo by Ran-el Cabrera

Since then, the band founded by Adrià Gual (rhythm guitar) and Daniel Segura (bass) has brought their powerful set to a huge number of macrofestivals such as Coleur Café (Belgium) and Les nuits Secretes (France), jazz festivals such as San Sebastian’s Jazzaldia (Spain), Nancy, Lille (France) and Liege (Belgium), plus many specialized festivals, such as Funtastic Dracula Carnival, Purple Weekend or Beat Goes On (Spain), while also heavily working the club circuits over the Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland, Germany and the UK, among others.

The band is strongly influenced by the best Afro-American music from the past century, focusing on old school soul sounds. Fronted by the explosive lead vocals of Koko-Jean Davis; the scorching 6 strings of Lalo Lopez on lead guitar and Adrià Gual on rhythm guitar; the thundering rhythm section driven by Marc Benaiges (drums) and Daniel Segura (bass); and last but not least, the soulful sounds of Nico Rodríguez Jauregui on baritone sax and Marc Lloret on alto sax. Its rhythm section builds an ultra-tight bedrock, perfectly complemented by its saxophones, following the early sixties tradition. The band brings an energetic show comprising the most furious and authentic R&B floor fillers and one or two spine-chilling ballads, wrapped in a show delivered without mercy, which invites the crowd to one of the best parties you can find.

Etta James, Ike and Tina Turner, early James Brown or Sugar Pie de Santo are some of the names that’ll give you a hint about The Excitements’ sound, always loyal to the US R&B and Soul tradition.

You can check it all by yourself grabbing a copy of their first LP and any of their several 45s. All of them are released by Barcelona’s label Penniman Records, one of the most important R&B and old school Soul labels on the planet.

Photo by Ran-el Cabrera

Photo by Ran-el Cabrera

The new sensation of the national soul scene, pure dynamite on stage. Rolling Stone (Spain)

A voice, a rhythm and a magic that is contagious. Público (Spain)

Listening to them takes you back to a world and a time when music was real, thrilling and had real soul. Ruta 66 (Spain)

For more information please contact Gerry Lyseight on

020 7095 8146 / /

Africando – ¡Viva Africando!

7 Aug



Africando – ¡Viva Africando!

Released 23rd September STCD1120

bar code: 5017742301543



¡Viva Africando! ¡Viva!

Africando’s 8th studio album, this is the first not recorded primarily in New York. This time the Africando masterminds, producer Ibrahima Sylla and arranger Boncana Maïga, bring New York’s top Latin musicians – led by pianist Oscar Hernandez – to Paris. There they reunite with the group’s vocal stars, Medoune Diallo, Sékouba Bambino, Amadou Ballaké and Shoubou, along with distinguished guest singers from diverse African and American countries, singing, all told, in 10 different languages.

But whatever the language, with Africando it’s always classic big-band salsa – salsa dura – the hottest Afro-Latin style. That dedication to a golden sound is brought home in the album finale, a tribute to Africando by the great contemporary American champions of classic salsa, the Spanish Harlem Orchestra, featuring Ray de la Paz.

Africando has always been a meeting of Africans and Latin Americans. It always will be. That was the idea in the beginning, and it has held up splendidly (and inspired other bands).

Africando’s first seven albums were recorded mostly or entirely in New York, for this eighth studio set the New Yorkers travelled to Paris. That wasn’t the plan, but the war in Mali intervened, making it impossible for Africando’s Malian arranger and music director, Boncana Maiga, to renew his US visa in time to make the album in New York. Fortunately, he was able to go to France, carrying tracks begun in Bamako (Mali) and Dakar (Senegal). In Paris he reconnected with Ibrahima Sylla, Africando’s producer and instigator, and in November 2012 they were joined by six musicians from New York, led by pianist Oscar Hernandez, who has been an integral part of Africando since Gombo Salsa (1996).

Many familiar voices grace Viva Africando. The veteran Senegalese singer Medoune Diallo is a charter member of the band, now in its 21st year. Sékouba Bambino, Guinea’s biggest star since his youth in Bembeya Jazz National, joined Africando in 1996 and remains a permanent member while continuing his very successful solo career. Roger Eugène, better known as Shoubou, a patriarch of the pre-eminent Haitian band, Tabou Combo, has been moonlighting with Africando for 17 years. A pioneer of modern music in Burkina Faso and also an Africando concert trouper, Amadou Ballaké is back for his fourth album with the band.

Jos Spinto, who has performed with Africando over the past decade, dedicates one of his songs in the new album to the late Gnonnas Pedro (1942-2004), an early pop star in Spinto’s home country, Benin, who in the last eight years of his life won new fans worldwide in the Africando front line. Pascal Dieng of Super Cayor de Dakar returns to Africando for his second album, as does his fellow Senegalese singer, Bassirou Sarr of the group Dieuf-Dieul.

This album presents four distinguished singers making their first appearances with Africando. Rene Cabral has led Cape Verde Show for over three decades. Lokombe Nkalulu was in one of the hottest Congolese bands of the high ‘70s, les Grands Maquisards. James Gadiaga is a nobleman of Senegal’s Royal Band de Thiès. Raymond Fernandes, born in Dakar to Cape Verdean parents, recorded his song during the Africando sessions for Mandali, but when he died before the album’s release, his track was removed and saved for a better time – now.

Africando has always welcomed guests to the stage and to the studio – great singers especially but also instrumental soloists. Viva Africando comes to a rousing finale with a piece by an entire guest orchestra: the Spanish Harlem Orchestra, under the direction of Oscar Hernandez and featuring lead singer Ray de la Paz. The strongest champions of classic salsa today, the Spanish Harlem Orchestra pays tribute in “Africa Es” to its great ally in the cause, Africando.

For more info please contact gerry lyseight: / / 020 7095 8146


Krystle Warren and The Faculty live shows – London 22/5 and Brighton 24/5. Krystle also touring with Rufus Wainwright (Lyceum 30/4)

25 Apr

Krystle Warren
& The Faculty

New album
Love Songs: A Time You May Embrace
Out Now

Krystle Warren is a true original. Now comes this brave, personal set that extends her musical range even further. It’s a mostly cheerful album, with her deep, breathy voice easing between soulful balladry and scat jazz, with echoes of ragtime, gospel and country. Her assurance is as remarkable as her range, from the swinging Tuesday Morning to the grand I Worry Less, or (best of all) her string-backed setting to a William Blake poem, The Clod and the Pebble, treated as an elegant fusion of soulful hymnal and swing. The Guardian ****

The astonishing Ms Warren advances on the impressive gameplan of acclaimed predecessor Circles with a self-produced lovefest that was recorded in 13 days. It brims with soulful riches and consummate musicality while the songs are sensuous platforms for her honeyed contralto, jazzy elegance and effortless flair. Mirror ****

For her latest album, American ingenue Krystle Warren assembled a team of 28 musicians in a Brooklyn studio and laid down new songs live. Aptly, the twelve that made it onto Love Songs capture her crooning effortlessly over timeless jazz, folk and blues layered with horns, strings, piano and choirs. Smouldering stuff. Diva Magazine

…singer-songwriter Krystle Warren remains a cult concern. A gorgeous new album, Love Songs, should help her cause … Evening Standard

“… An utterly indispensable modern classic.” Morning Star

Krystle Warren – a Missouri native who has spent time performing on the streets of Paris and New York – made a name for herself with her 2009 debut, Circles. She draws obvious comparisons to Tracy Chapman, but perhaps it’s only due to the depth of her alto vocal range. Despite comparisons to Chapman and Nina Simone, Warren is a decidedly different brand of singer-songwriter, managing to hit multiple styles, often within a single song, so that each carries with it a new and refreshing sense of promise and surprise. musicOMH

Just having a voice isn’t enough – you have to have a reason to sing, something that tells your audience “this is what I was made for”. With this collection, Krystle Warren has got there. ****

Tuesday 22nd May
Camden Lock,
London NW1 8AF
+ support from Dead Flamingoes (Kami Thompson + James Walbourne)
£15 from / /
Doors 7pm
Brighton Festival
Thursday 24th May
All Saints’ Church,
The Drive,
£12.50 from (Sold Out)
Doors 8pm
Krystle will be touring the world in 2012 with Rufus Wainwright as guitarist/backing vocalist and support act.

In February Krystle completed the Floating Palaces tour alongside KT Tunstall, Robyn Hitchcock, Martin & Eliza Carthy and Howe Gelb (and Led Zep’s John Paul Jones below).

Love Songs: A Time You May Embrace’ is the next episode in the musical life of the remarkable Krystle Warren following the much admired ‘Circles’ release: “… Warren’s talents are extraordinary. She has an octave-hopping voice that glides between languid and urgent, and music that hovers between funk, folk and jazz, between Jeff Buckley and Nina Simone ….. she’s the real deal.” The Observer

“… Warren’s thrilling debut album fully lives up to expectations….It’s all uncontrived and near faultless, really.” Uncut

“There’s something alluringly familiar about Krystle Warren. She instantly sounds classic … we are certainly in the presence of a mighty talent.” BBC Online

“Love Songs: A Time You May Embrace” is the fruit of an exhilarating 13 day recording session in Brooklyn during which 25* tunes were laid down, live (the way her heroes and sheroes did it) by a total of 28 musicians including Krystle’s regular crew, The Faculty, alongside choirs, horn and string sections. Krystle wrote the songs, fired up the players and produced the whole jambalaya. She integrates ragtime and waltz time; evokes Dusty and Krystle-ises William Blake; rubs up against Broadway musical stylings as well as leaving lots of space for songs featuring only her glorious voice alongside acoustic guitar. In a perfect world “Love Songs…” would have come to you on double vinyl with a gatefold sleeve big enough for you to lose yourself in.

The journey from Krystle’s parlour to your table has been an eventful and exciting one. She set up her own record label as well as sharing stages around the world with the likes of Rufus Wainwright, Norah Jones, Joan As Police Woman, Nick Cave and Kylie.

Krystle is addicted to life on the musical high wire; always landing on the balls of her feet perfectly poised for the next adventure. On “Love Songs: A Time You May Embrace” the overwhelming sound is one of Krystle collecting the baton from her musical forebears – but it’s mostly about the weightless, giddy, moreishness of new love brought to you by the mind, body and soul of a huge and mature talent.
Two degrees in bebop, a PhD in swing.
She’s a master of rhythm, she’s a rock ‘n’ roll Queen.

Love Songs: A Time To Keep EP – Parlour Door Music. Out Now
* Part two: “Love Songs: A Time To Refrain From Embracing” will be along in good time.

For more info please contact gerry lyseight: 020 7095 8146 / /