Edinburgh Mela 2014 guests line-up includes Apache Indian, Soumik Datta and former-Bhundu Boys Rise Kagona

*4edinburgh Mela

credit: Rehmat Rayatt

Multinational dance festival enters its 20th year with highlights including The King of Ghosts

The second day of last year’s Edinburgh Mela may have been called off due to unprecedented high winds, but what the thousands who came to Leith Links saw in the event’s earlier stages was a summation of everything its artistic director Chris Purnell has in mind for it. A long-established fixture on the calendar for Edinburgh’s North Asian communities, the Mela has grown into a compelling community event for all nations and creeds, and now in its 20th year, it’s becoming an international dance festival whose reputation is spreading beyond the city.

‘Our ambition for the event’s moving on apace,’ says Purnell, ‘which is evidenced by the programme we’ve produced this year. The King of Ghosts commission is a signature event for us this year, and a major step up in terms of the quality of the work we want to produce and the reach we want to have across Scotland. We see ourselves as an arts organisation these days.’

The King of Ghosts is a major new turning point for the Mela, a collaboration between sarod player Soumik Datta and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra which will tour Scotland after its Friday appearance here, the Mela’s first production beyond Leith. Yet the programme extends far and wide across genres and nations, featuring UK bhangra icon Apache Indian, ex-Bhundu Boy Rise Kagona, reggae singer Cornel Campbell and his band the Soothsayers, and Italian DJ Gaudi, among many others, as well as food from around the world and more family-oriented activities on the Saturday and Sunday.

Leith Links, Edinburgh, Fri 29-Sun 31 Aug.

Edinburgh Mela

World music, dance, fashion, food and fun. During the week the Mela takes over various venues around Leith.

The King of Ghosts

A new composition by sarod star Soumik Datta, performed by him, percussionist Cormac Byrne and a 25-piece orchestra, inspired by Satyajit Ray's 1969 adventure comedy Gupi Gayen Bagha Bayen.