Ready to Bhangra? City of Bhangra Festival Brings Music and Dance to Vancouver

Photo sourced from vibc.org

Photo sourced from vibc.org

The best of bhangra is coming to Vancouver.

The City of Bhangra Festival celebrates the high energy music and dance form from South Asia, May 28-June 6. Originating as a folk dance in the Punjab region of India and Pakistan, bhangra – with its colourful costumes and elaborately choreographed routines – is perhaps best known as a staple of Bollywood films. In recent decades, it has also spread around the world, popping up everywhere from hip hop videos to celebrity fitness routines.

The 10-day City of Bhangra Festival features dance recitals, concerts, talks and more at venues across Vancouver and Surrey.  The main event is Downtown Bhangra, June 5-June 6, a full weekend of music and dancing at the Vancouver Art Gallery Plaza. Each year, thousands of people gather to get enjoy free bhangra concerts, complete with whirling dancers and pulsing rhythms, from noon to 10 p.m.   Continue reading:
Ready to Bhangra? City of Bhangra Festival Brings Music and Dance to Vancouver

Things To Do In Vancouver This Weekend

Things To Do In Vancouver This Weekend
Gear up for the weekend with World Cup Final viewing parties, street dance lessons, music festivals, and more!  Read on for our top picks for things to do in Vancouver this weekend!

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Things To Do In Vancouver This Weekend

North America’s Biggest Bhangra Fest Comes to Vancouver

Photo credit: Brendan | Flickr

Photo credit: Brendan | Flickr

Ready to bhangra?

The dance and music style from the Punjab region of India and Pakistan is about to take over Vancouver for the 10-day City of Bhangra Festival, May 29-June 7. The largest event of its kind in North America, the event highlights the infectious rhythms, elaborate and colourful costumes and sultry choreography of bhangra, both traditional forms and creative new interpretations.

Here’s a peek at what’s on tap:

May 29: Transfusion – Experience First Nations, Jewish, Hip-Hop, and Garba dancers creating intercultural mash-ups by blending bhangra moves and music with their own indigenous folk traditions. Thursday, May 29 at 8 p.m.; Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre at SFU Woodwards (149 W. Hastings); $10.  

May 30: Media Arts MehfilTraditionally, “mehfil” refers to an evening of entertainment in an intimate setting. A twist on the traditional mehfil style, this gathering brings together gifted musicians for playful improvisation. The result is a unique and mesmerizing mosaic of North Indian classical, progressive rock , jazz, funk, Punjabi folk and Caribbean groove. Friday, May 30 at 7 p.m.; Surrey City Hall (13450 104 Avenue); $20. Continue reading:
North America’s Biggest Bhangra Fest Comes to Vancouver

South Asian Festival on False Creek, Sawan Mela Aug 17-18

Photo credit: VIBC | Flickr

Ready for some butter chicken, Bollywood and Punjabi beat-boxers in one of the prettiest outdoor settings in downtown Vancouver?

The 10th Sawan Mela festival is coming to the Plaza of Nations on the False Creek seawall this Friday and Saturday, a celebration of all the cultures that make up Vancouver’s vibrant South Asian community.

The festival is a sensory overload of tastes, sights, aromas and sounds from the region.  An army of food trucks will be on hand, serving up butter chicken, tangy dosas and other local specialties (No word yet on whether celebrity chef Vikram Vij will bring his Indian-themed truck, Vij’s Railway Express).

Sawan Mela is also packed with live Bollywood performances, bhangra singing and dancing, belly dancers, beat-boxers and Desi-rockers.  Continue reading:
South Asian Festival on False Creek, Sawan Mela Aug 17-18

Bhangra star Dalvinder Singh at Heritage Hall, June 5

The eighth annual City of Bhangra Festival (May 31-June 10) is in full swing across Vancouver this week, celebrating lively bhangra music and dancing from the Punjab region of India and Pakistan.  With high-energy, infectious songs and colourful dance routines, bhangra has caught on across North America and especially in Vancouver.

And one of the biggest stars in contemporary bhangra, the UK’s Dalvinder Singh, is coming to Heritage Hall on Main Street on Tuesday, June 5.  If you’re a bhangrahead – or just a fan of great world music performed at the highest level – this is one show you shouldn’t miss.

Bhangra music has its roots in traditional songs from the Punjab region.  But it actually originated in Britain in the 1980s, when Punjabi immigrants took those folk sounds and incorporated contemporary rock, R&B and – later – hip-hop – instruments and beats.  It is in many ways a music of identity and protest – focused on affirming a positive sense of self and Punjabi culture.

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Bhangra star Dalvinder Singh at Heritage Hall, June 5