Tuesday, 9 July 2019

The Mela

"Mela" is a Sanskrit word which is now applied to any sort of "gathering" or "fair". And on Sunday people with roots in South Asia gathered to celebrate their heritage and welcome those of us who know little of their traditions.  

A clear, tuneful voice came floating on the breeze as I neared the main stage on Parker's Piece in Cambridge. It turned out to be the very talented indie-pop singer-songwriter Saachi Sen, who went to the trouble of spelling her name out for us. I had a lot more trouble catching the names of some of the other performers. Apologies to those whose names I didn't get.

Three ladies from an unknown dance-troupe who were happy to pose for me.

The DJ, SonnyJi, doing his thing up on the main stage.

Some of the children had done a huge painting of which they were very proud.

This was Claudia and the Braidy Bunch on the Alliance Fran├žaise stage which operates throughout the weekend and is not part of the Mela. She played a happy blend of musical styles, ideal for a sunny Sunday afternoon.

I think these ladies were from the Natyanjali Dance School as are the other photos of dancers, though the Sanskruti School Of Dance were also present.

An unknown drummer in the Bangladesh Welfare And Cultural Association Stage. He was accompanying singers throughout the afternoon.

This is NASH of the Shayal Collective. A BBC Future Sounds Artist of 2018, playing Asian-Urban music. A very energetic performer, most of my photos are slightly out of focus as he danced back and forth across the stage.

The artistry of the henna painter.

The VP Entertainers bhangra dancers had the audience up and dancing, but not as well as they did it themselves.

Another singer and musicians on the Bangladesh Stage, the guy on the keyboards still proudly wearing his Bangladesh cricket team top despite their elimination from the Cricket World Cup. The team made a lot of friends here - as did the musicians at the Mela.

I'll include as many links as I can for the various acts at the end. But before you go I recommend to you the following video of Saachi Sen, where you'll not only hear a beautiful singer of her own composition, but will simultaneously enjoy the sight of Cambridge at sunset.

http://www.sanskruti.org.uk/ https://www.facebook.com/saachisen/ https://www.natyanjalidance.com/ https://www.facebook.com/VPBhangraUK/ https://sonnyji.com/ https://www.facebook.com/shayalofficial/ https://en-gb.facebook.com/Bangladesh-welfare-cultural-association-Cambridge-735153373224109/ Take care.


  1. And a good time was had by all.......

  2. Looks like a colourful and fun festival!

  3. Your first shot is my favourite.

  4. I love festival that share different cultures!

  5. The traditional clothing is beautiful. Such a great way to learn about other cultures and traditions.

  6. Looks like you enjoyed live concert hopping for ethnic or hybrid music and dance. So fun to listen to singing or see dancing from different cultures. The traditional ethnic costumes are colorful and gorgeous. Your camera must have been busy clicking. I like Saachi Sen’s voice, which is warm, free, and relaxing, her music style, and the setting in this video.


  7. Such a beautiful, colorful time there. Love these photos.

  8. Sounds like a great event and some great music to listen to. Excellent photos, John.

  9. Our clothes are so boring! I love all that color...and love the voice of Saachj Sen.

  10. Lovely and colourful and I am sure the music was great as well.

  11. wonderful! I was ahead of you, and immediately searched for Saachi on Spotify and found her song "Tethered." Very nice, good range with her voice, melodic. I'll look up the others you mentioned -- always on the lookout for music. Great photos -- looks like a colorful and fun gathering.

  12. Thank you for a beautiful video and wonderful photos.

  13. Thanks, John; that looks like an event to note - happy and colourful!

  14. That looks like lots of fun and here’s to celebrating cultural diversity! Saachi Sen has such a sweet, clear voice.


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