The October festival, currently in its sixth year, celebrating the many cultures of western Sydney has become one of the most awaited events in NSW
Parramasala 2015 presents a more diverse range of cultures than ever before, with more than 36 cultures and nationalities represented through dance, music, art, food and theatre. This year’s festival will also host the inaugural India Tourism Week with an India Tourism Pavilion in Prince Alfred Square, Parramatta and a Saturday morning program at Prince Alfred Square.
The free event will take place from Friday, 23 October, to Sunday, 25 October, in Parramatta’s Prince Alfred Square and at Wigram Street, Harris Park.
NSW Minister for Multiculturalism Hon John Ajaka MLC, and Lord Mayor of Parramatta, Councillor Scott Lloyd, officially launched the full event program for Parramasala 2015 on 23 September.
This is the sixth year of Parramasala, a free festival celebrating the many cultures of western Sydney.
Three international acts will appear at Parramasala include Rajasthani folk group ‘Prakash Kala Prashikashan Sansthan’, vocal and sitar duo Debapriya Adhikary and Samanwaya Sarkar, both appearing at Parramasala with the support of the ICCR (Indian Council for Cultural Relations); and contemporary kathak expression Angikā, performed by Sanjukta Sinha and produced by IceCraft Creations, which will premiere in Australia at the Lennox Theatre on Saturday, 24 October and is part of Parramasala with the support of the Government of Gujarat.
Minister Ajaka said the NSW Government is proud to support a festival that celebrates the cultural diversity of Sydney and more broadly, Australian society. “As a leading cultural celebration in NSW, Parramasala plays a vital role in bringing people and cultures together through a shared appreciation of music, food, dance, art and much more,” Minister Ajaka said.
“Events like Parramasala help us learn about each other to appreciate what makes us different and discover what makes us the same. Through these experiences we can work towards building a harmonious society that embraces many cultures and enriches our lives,” he added.
More than 600 people are expected to take part in the popular Opening Night Street Parade on Friday 23 October. The Parade starts at Parramatta Town Hall, dances its way along Church Street and culminates in Prince Alfred Square where an Official Opening Ceremony and Concert will take place.
Parramasala has also specially commissioned ‘Fire and Earth’ by Sydhwaney Productions in association with eminent Western Sydney Indian classical dance schools.
Lord Mayor of Parramatta Cr Scott Lloyd said Parramasala is a true highlight on the city’s event calendar and draws thousands of visitors every year.
“Parramasala is a vibrant, fun festival that celebrates the diversity of cultures we have here in Parramatta,” said Cr Lloyd. “The event offers something for everyone from fantastic musical and dance performances, to delicious foods offering flavours from around the world. I encourage people to come and see what Parramasala has to offer,” he said.
“On Friday afternoon, the markets in Prince Alfred Square will open from noon, allowing people to wander through on their lunch break and begin gathering in the park. The Friday Opening Night Street Parade in Parramatta will feature a singalong of the special Parramasala song ‘MidaWawasi (Welcome),” he added.
Friday night in Prince Alfred Square will feature Marsala world music, western Sydney hip hop group Soul Benefits and Colombian dance band Cumbiamuffin. Saturday in Prince Alfred Square starts with yoga, meditation and ancient vocal practices, Balinese Gamelan and dance, plus breakfast at Morning Masala from 8:30am.Saturday afternoon in Prince Alfred Square features performances reflecting Indian, Chinese, Kurdish, Indonesian, Macedonian, Uruguayan, Hungarian and Syrian cultures. The India Tourism Pavilion will showcase performer workshops and a Chai Tea Stall – meet Indian performers, learn about their culture and find out more about the instruments and dance movements.
On Saturday night, the ladies take over the stage for Masala Divas at Parramatta with performers including Baby et Lulu and Sirens Big Band. The Flavours of the World Spice Market takes over the streets of Harris Park on Saturday night, where Curry Puff Daddy will add some hip-hop heat on stage.
On Sunday afternoon Prince Alfred Square offers music and dance of Spanish, Ghanaian, Bangladeshi, Indigenous, Mexican, Chinese, Croatian, Indian and more cultures. There’s pop-up flamenco, Bollywood flash mobs, a funky harp, tabla players and more.
Sunday night, the festival wraps up with crowd favourites Sydney World Music Chamber Orchestra, an 11 piece orchestra assembled from Western Sydney and featuring artists from cultures including Mongolian, Mexican, Singaporean, Vietnamese, Aboriginal, Croatian, Iranian, Malaysian, Uyghurian and Ghanaian.
“A celebration of South Asian cinema from India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, New Zealand and our very own Australia is on at Cinema Thali in Raffertys Theatre. The festival will include the winner of the My Masala film competition celebrating young Australian short stories,” said Cr Lloyd, and added that the photography exhibition Adorned will be staged in the Courtyard of Riverside Theatres.