City of Bhangra Festival puts emphasis on women

  •, Hindustan Times, Vancouver
  • Updated: Apr 13, 2015 20:03 IST

Women will headline Vancouver International Bhangra Celebration (VIBC) Society’s 10-day City of Bhangra festival this year.

VIBC will bring together hundreds of local and international artists for the “10-day all-out dance party and music-fest” in Surrey and Vancouver from May 28 to June 6.

“This year we are focusing on women,” VIBC general manager Anita Lal told Vancouver Desi.

According to Lal, a lot of discussion on equality and women’s rights has been going on in the past year but not much has been done to give women opportunities as equals.

Even before the topic of equal pay for women came up at the Oscars, VIBC had lined up women to headline its events, Lal said.

“Women are strong, they are successful in their own way,” Lal said. “We can make them a headliner, they have the talent and they have an audience.”

Pakistani singer Shazia Manzoor and New York-based DJ Rekha are the female headliners at this year’s fest.

While Manzoor will perform live at the QE Theatre on May 30, DJ Rekha along with Ontario’s Lady Ra and Vancouver’s own Lil India will rock the official after-party on June 6 in downtown Vancouver.

New additions to this year’s fest include Taza Beats with local DJs at the Led Bar and Folk Lok, an intergenerational and cross-cultural multimedia performance featuring SETI X and Ustad Lal Singh Bhatti at John Fluevog’s shoe emporium.

The festival also brings back some popular events from last year. There is Bhangra on Main with Surrey vocalist Raju Johal on June 2 and the Bhangra Village Conference at SFU Surrey conducted by communications guru Sharad Khare on June 4.

The party will then continue at Downtown Bhangra with free live performances by local and international bhangra performers outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on June 5 and 6.

According to a VIBC news release City of Bhangra celebrates the joy of shared experience by connecting cultural communities worldwide through the vibrancy of bhangra music, dance, and song.

“Being a part of this event signifies what being a Canadian means, what my being Canadian means. We have so many different cultures that we come across here,” said Lal.

“The City of Bhangra fest is very inclusive. It allows people to come together and appreciate each other’s uniqueness … and the fact that they are so similar. And doing so through the fun art of bhangra.”

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