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Baishakhi Mela kicks off in Spitalfields Market next weekend

PUBLISHED: 11:52 15 May 2010 | UPDATED: 16:01 05 October 2010

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BENGALI New Year is set to go off with a bang as international acts queue up to take part in this year s Baishakhi Mela on Sunday, May 23. This year s procession will start at Bishops Square in Spitalfields Market at 11am and will wind its way through the

BENGALI New Year is set to go off with a bang as international acts queue up to take part in this year's Baishakhi Mela on Sunday, May 23.

This year's procession will start at Bishops Square in Spitalfields Market at 11am and will wind its way through the streets of the East End, along Brick Lane and into Weavers' Fields where most of the day's festivities will take place.

Musicians, dancers and East Enders will be accompanied by a menagerie of fantastical kinetic creatures created by Emergency Exit Arts, including a giant turtle with a DJ, owls, magpies and a colourful mechanical elephant.

Through dance, song, music and masks the parade shows a Bengali village at harvest time, complete with a wedding celebration and the sewing of the Nakshi Kantha story quilt.

Singer Kumar Bishwajit, famous for his distinctive voice and style, will headline the seven-hour entertainment extravaganza on the main stage in Weavers' Fields.

Shahnaz Belly, who has established herself in Bangladesh as an eminent folk singer, will warm up the stage for him and Salma Akhter and Ronti Das, former champions of Bangladeshi talent show Close Up 1, will also perform.

Also featuring on the main stage are Amir Muhammed, Rubayyat Jahan and Kaya.

Child star Manzil Qurashi will entertain the crowds with a solo dance and there will be traditional Bengali dance from the Taal Toronga children and adult group.

East End-based performers including singer Himangshu Goswami and the multilingual Rukhsana Safa, who sings in Bengali, Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi, Arabic, Japanese and English, will warm up the crowds earlier in the afternoon.

Down the road, Allen Gardens will showcase home grown talent with UK-based dancers, singers and artists performing throughout the afternoon.

Lokkhi Terra, combining Bangladeshi music traditions with those of Africa and Latin America, is due to headline.

And other highlights include Deshi Movement, a group of young East Enders who bring together eastern and western vibes, and Naga, who performs his own beats and lyrics, drawing on experiences from his life in the East End.

More information is available at www.baishakhimela.org.uk

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