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The Mela is a festival that brings communities together offers a spectacular range of talent from all cultures. Here’s what to look out for this year.

DANCE

The 2012 festival is centred around dance, and is determined to showcase the most diverse and artistic performances.

One highlight this year is Rama & Sita, by Scotland’s Indian dance company – Dance Ihayami – and outdoor theatre company – Walk The Plank. Traditional dance and puppetry is used to reenact this classic story – and it’s free! The show will also be enhanced by special effects, pyrotechnics and a firework display. Click here to see other highlights of the dance category.

MUSIC

The spectacular Babylon Arabic Band is a fusion of traditional Arabic music with Scottish, Irish and German influences. This is sure to be a wonderful combination. A variety of other renowned artists will also be making an appearance. Ones to look out for are Bhangra legend Jassi Sidhu and Desi starlet Ramee. Read about the rest of the lineup for music here.

FASHION

The Mela Fashion Show featuring both international and local designers will include a mix of contemporary and traditional clothing. Keep an eye out for some beautiful Asian bridal wear and evening wear as well as a wide range of contemporary Western designs. The show will be choreographed by Nadim Saleem, who returns after experience running the London-Pakistan Fashion Week and the Newcastle Mela. To read more about the fashion show click here.

FOOD

Do not leave the Mela Festival without visiting at least one of the more than 20 stalls offering not only fresh Bombay street food; mouth-watering curries, sweetmeats and snacks, but also food from South and East Asia, South America, Eastern Europe and, of course, Scotland. All this can be found at the Global Food Village. Make sure you try the haggis pakora!

KIDS ACTIVITIES

This year the Mela Kidzone promises to take its young audience members Around the World in Eighty Minutes. With a series of workshops, kids can explore ‘stories and traditions of the four points of the compass’. The Mela Storytelling Boat will guide their way with a crew of Vikings and Norsewomen. This is a fantastic opportunity for young people to become immersed in other cultures and to learn, and under 12s get free entry.

Other performances listed here.

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Steve Cardownie, Chair of the Mela board,  said that “A big part of the Edinburgh Mela’s appeal is that it originates from, and represents, the city’s own diverse communities… Edinburgh boasts an unrivalled and hugely varied year-round calendar of events and the Edinburgh Mela truly is one of the highlights of the summer months.”

The Mela will run from 31 August-2 September in Leith Links. Go to the official Edinburgh Mela website for more details.