The HSBC City of Bhangra Festival is expanding into Surrey in a big way, from May 31 to June 10 at a variety of venues.
The annual festival offers free events, folk drumming and dance performances hosted and produced by VIBC Society (Vancouver International Bhangra Celebration).
Five of the 13 festival events will be held in Surrey - a first for organizers as they move east, geographically speaking.
More than 200 of the best Punjabi dancers and musicians will be part of the 8th annual festival, which kicks off with a "rePercussion" event Thursday, May 31 at Surrey Arts Centre.
"Enjoy a night of fascinating rhythm led by multitalented percussionist Sal Ferreras and guests as they reveal another side of Metro Vancouver's heartbeat in 'rePercussion,'" festival organizers say. "From Chinese drums to AfroCuban beats, to a melding of Punjabi and Brazilian styles, 'rePercussion' explores traditions of rhythms that represent Vancouver's multicultural landscape."
The show starts at 7: 30 p.m. at the Bear Creek Park venue. Performers that evening include Israel Berriel,
This year, the VIBC Society is also introducing its newest event, "Celebrate the Harvest," a Bhangra block party in Surrey where the beats, rhythms and movements of bhangra happen Saturday, June 2 from 3 to 8 p.m. at Central City Plaza. In partnership with the City of Surrey and Citizen and Immigration Canada, this event will feature a number of key collaborative performances between the Israeli folk dance and Punjabi folk arts communities.
The City of Surrey is happy to be partnering with the VIBC Society. Paul Bray, Rayman and Karn Bhuller (dhol), Cassius Khan (tabla), Celso Machado, Liam MacDonald, Francis James & the Smokey Valley Drummers, Oscar Soto, and Surrey Folk Bhangra Club. Tickets are $20 at TicketsTonight.ca.
"Surrey welcomes the HSBC City of Bhangra Festival to our community," said Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts, "and we're pleased to see the signature 'Celebrate the Harvest' event introduced into the festival. Surrey has a diverse cultural base, and North America's largest bhangra festival will be a great complement to our existing community events and intercultural celebrations."
Indanation (or IDN) is the latest band from the Lower Mainland to hit the international bhangra scene and will be performing at Celebrate the Harvest. "Combining pulsating rock beats with traditional bhangra rhythms, the music of IDN is a blend of elements from North American and Indian musical influences. Victoria-born Dave Bawa will also grace the stage. This newcomer showcases his unique singing style that reflects urban hip-hop influences, yet stays true to his traditional roots creating a perfect blend."
Other festival events being held in Surrey include
"Mehfil Night" (Friday, June 1 at Bombay Se, 7500 120th St., Surrey) and a free "Bhangra House" gathering (1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, June 3 at Newton Cultural Centre, 13530 72nd Ave., Surrey - a chance to "learn from the region's foremost practitioners as we explore the full range of Punjabi folk dances that comprise bhangra, such as luddi, jhummar and dhammal, and provide engagement for all skill levels").
Since 2005, the not-for-profit VIBC has presented events to entertain and educate all communities about bhangra.
"The society's vision is to embrace the spirit of celebration, generosity and community that is bhangra. The VIBC is dedicated to spreading the universal rhythm of Bhangra and welcoming people from all cultures to enjoy the beats of this beautiful art form."
For more information about the festival, visit www. CityOfBhangra.com.