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All-women Bhangra team steals Punjabi show in US

West embraced East here as thousands mingled, ate and danced at the annual Punjabi American Heritage Festival.

world Updated: May 26, 2009 14:35 IST

West embraced East here as thousands mingled, ate and danced at the annual Punjabi American Heritage Festival.

Known as America's first Punjabi village, Yuba City in northern California is home to the earliest immigrant families from India.

More than 10,000 Punjabis from all over North America descended on this city on Sunday to participate in the 15th annual cultural festival. They were joined by people from all ethnic groups.

A colourful bazaar sprang up on the city's fairgrounds where everyone savoured Punjabi delicacies - chicken tandoori, tikka-kebab, chhole-bhature, gol-gapa, kulfi, halwa and jalebi.

On stage too, Punjabi and western music mingled as dancers swayed to the beat of drums.

The tempo of the day-long cultural fusion kept building as musicians and dancers from Punjab performed with local troupes.

Davis Di Dynasty or 3D, a male-female Bhangra team from the University of California, set the stage on fire with their high-voltage performance.

But the high point came when a local all-white female dance group called Born-to-Bhangra (B2B) took to stage.

B2B left the audience gasping by performing the Bhangra to perfection.

Little girls from other ethnic groups were no less impressive as they danced alongside Punjabi girls to hit tunes.

"Passing our culture on to our next generation and making the whites aware of our rich heritage is the two-fold purpose of this festival - which is America's first such show," said festival co-founder Jasbir Kang.

"As in the past, we have also screened three documentaries - one on the life of Maharaja Duleep Singh and another on Bhagat Puran Singh," said Kang.

Five prominent Punjabis were honoured on the occasion for their contributions in different walks of life.

Punjabis constitute about 10 percent of Yuba City's population of 50,000. Deputy mayor Kash Gill is a Sikh. He is set to become the mayor next year.

A great mosaic of composite Punjabi culture, five gurdwaras, a temple, a church and a mosque stand alongside one another in Yuba City.

First Published: May 26, 2009 14:22 IST