Dance, music and masti define Parramasala

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The opening ceremony of the 2013 festival resulted in a mass street party full of fun and frolic, writes ASTHA SINGH
2013 © cynthia sciberras (77 of 158)
To celebrate Western Sydney’s multicultural diversity and the contemporary arts of Australia, this year’s Parramasala Festival 2013 begun with an incredible parade from Parramatta city’s Town Hall to Prince Alfred Park on the evening of October 4. It was a fitting beginning to the festival that celebrates Australia’s complexity of cultures through heralding the arts via colours and classics, with festivity and frolic. The parade was created and directed by one of Australia’s most awarded international producers and director of major events, Di Henry.
“Cultural diversity and the oneness amongst all the culturally different diaspora is the key to vivacity that encourages such events,” said Di, explaining the significance of the event. “By joining this awesome huge street party in the form of the parade, everyone had a good time and lots of fun,” she added.
The parade began at exactly 6:30pm in a very disciplined and diligent manner, starting with the Golden Kangaroo Epping RSL marching band flaunting their yellow uniforms and the band’s flag. The parade also comprised of various Bollywood dance groups, a multicultural procession of different ethnic groups, Sydney’s Youth Dragon and Lion Dance, Studio Dance Orientale, individual performers and drummers. It was a fascinating blend of colour and sound, of celebration and tradition, as different nations vied with each other to showcase their culture and heritage.
Almost all the participants were worth a mention, but the most unique were the dancers and drummers, associations and communities. The Karifi-Ghanian drummers group represented the ethnic communities of Africa, with the Brazilian drumming group, and Lebanese drummers keeping the crowd engaged and excited.
The dancers were varied, ranging from the beautiful Srikandi Indonesian dance group with their graceful moves, the curvaceous and adept belly dancers, Peruvian dancers, the ubiquitous Bollywood, bhangra and various other classical and neo-classical dancing which had the crowd engaged in their moves.
Groups of participants included the Hindi school, the colourful and well-lit National Sikh council of Australia troupe and the NSW Indian Welfare Association, accompanied by members of the Indian community.
Well-decorated and beautiful rickshaws gave some lucky women from the crowd a free ride. Penny-farthing bikes, with riders in traditional costumes, alongside the NSW lancers, Mark II tanks, a military vehicle with decorations and army personnel, followed by the Parracity shuttle bus, made up the motoring element. And the natural one was the sight of attractively decorated grey horses and camels accompanying their communities. The Parramasala float with its Maharshi drummers and Parramasala trucks with one of the Purotrucks with fa ire demonstration caught the attention of the crowd.
Alfred Park is just 10 minutes away from Parramatta Town Hall, but the parade that took about 25 minutes to get there had everything, from walking puppets, sailors with walking boats, floats, dragon and lion dances from the far east, traditional folk dancing from the middle east, Bhutanese walkers, Bollywood dancing, dandiya, mridangam and dhol playing, to make it an attractive medley of music, dance, display and excitement!
On reaching Alfred Park, the crowd was treated to an eclectic music concert that got most people dancing to world music from L-fresh The LION and his Punjabi Hip-Hop Band, Karifi and his African Union Beats and the headline act, Bangalore music sensation and the guru of folk rock, Raghu Dixit and his band. With his group of outstanding musicians, Dixit took the audience to a world of Indian folk music infused with elements of western rock, Arabic, Latino and Reggae rhythms.
The masala markets at the venue featured Asian Indian cuisine, fashion, spices, fabrics, arts, crafts and refreshments in open stalls under the trees from 4pm until 10 pm. Judging by the amount of people flocking to the stalls, it was clear that the food was a resounding success.
The opening night of Parramasala ended with a sensational display of fireworks, with the crowd reluctant to leave. But the program to come over the week was a promising one. The Bollywood concert featuring Shahrukh Khan, Madhuri Dixit, Rani Mukherji and Honey Singh was on the cards, and several other individual events featuring international performers and events were eagerly anticipated.
There’s little doubt that the opening ceremony of Parramasala 2013 was an enjoyable and memorable event. Di Henry anticipated that at least 10,000 people attended the event through the day, ranging from seniors to youth groups, to families with children. It was an eclectic mix of communities and performers who gathered together to celebrate multiculturalism in Australia, together making the festival a resounding success.

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