Anoushka Shankar to perform at Mayor's Diwali celebrations

24 October 2013

Sitar player and composer Anoushka Shankar is set to perform at the Mayor of London's Diwali Festival, which takes place in Trafalgar Square on Sunday 27 October.

Daughter of the legendary Ravi Shankar, who passed away last year, the acclaimed musician will be playing a set including tracks from 'Traces of You', the new album she collaborated on with musician and composer Nitin Sawhney, which also features her half-sister Norah Jones.

Anoushka Shankar is part of an exciting line up being brought to Trafalgar Square in partnership with media partner Zee and the Diwali in London committee, for the free event, which is supported by headline sponsor Lebara. Londoners from all communities, as well as visitors to the capital, are invited to attend the free event, which features a line-up of traditional and contemporary music and dance, plus stalls selling delicious food and drinks and activities for children to enjoy.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: 'London would not be the exciting and dynamic city that it is without the many communities that contribute to its dynamism and prosperity, something that is reflected in festivals like our Diwali celebrations. It has a powerful message, about peace, mutual respect and the victory of light over evil, which is important for Londoners as well as to Hindus, Sikhs and Jains. I wish everyone celebrating in London and beyond a happy and prosperous Diwali.'

Anoushka Shankar said: 'I am thrilled to be a part of this wonderful event and am excited about performing to the multi-cultural crowds of London during this beautiful festival. It feels really special to me to be connected to Diwali in London especially as I was born here and recently moved back to the city.'

With TV presenter Asad Shan from Zing as compere, a lively afternoon will kick off with the traditional Garba and dancing in the middle of the square, accompanied by live music from Bali and Angrez. Other performers will include the singer-songwriter Chirag Rao, who will be performing a range of Hindi music; Soul Sounds; Maharastra Mandal London; Jingles; The Bollywood Co.; Diya Dancers; AK Bollywood Dance; Systematic Chaos; Satish Shah's Group; Swarahs Fine Arts; Bolly Bros; Taal Torongo; Angel Dances; and Karan Pangali.

Lebara Mobile's UK Managing Director, Justin Cockerill, said: 'We are delighted to be associated with the Mayor's Diwali celebration taking place in Trafalgar Square, London. Diwali is known as the 'festival of lights. The festival celebrates the triumph of good over evil. It is the time when we gather with loved ones, celebrating our family, our friends and the prosperity God has bestowed upon us. Engaging directly with our customers has always been a key part of our success and the Diwali Festival offers us the opportunity to do exactly that. We wish a happy Diwali to all of our customers.'

Neeraj Dhingra, CEO, Zee Europe said: 'As a leading Asian TV Network in the UK from the last 18 years, ZEE takes great pride in being the Mayor of London’s preferred media partner for this popular event every year. The fantastic celebration with its mix of activities is a great opportunity to bring together communities to mark the joyous festival of Diwali in the centre of one of the world’s most multi-cultural cities. This year we will be bringing a grand array of entertainment for the audiences to enjoy on the day and also on Zee TV.'

Ameet Aggarwal, Diwali in London chairman 2013, said: 'Diwali is a beautiful festival that can be enjoyed by every community and I am delighted Trafalgar Square is hosting the Diwali celebrations yet again. This is not only an occasion of great significance to Hindus, Sikhs and Jains, but with its underlying themes of peace and mutual respect it has relevance and meaning for all Londoners. I wish everyone a happy and prosperous Diwali and look forward to seeing you on 27 October.'

 Event: Diwali Festival Date: Sunday 27 October 2013 Times: 2pm - 7pm Venue: Trafalgar Square, London Entry: FREE – ALL WELCOME Information: www.london.gov.uk/diwali Programme (subject to change at short notice): 2pm Traditional Garba dancing, with live music, in the centre of Trafalgar Square.

3.15pm Opening ceremony with Diwali messages and speeches

3.35pm Live music and performance.

5.30pm Official media partner Zee TV presents performances by a range of professional artists.

6.40pm Closing ceremony with religious hymns and musical Aarti provided AOL, Art Of Living.

7pm Event ends

MEDIA ATTENDANCE Media wishing to cover Diwali in the Square should email [email protected] as soon as possible.

Additional media

Notes to editors

1. The Diwali Festival is organised by the Mayor of London in association with the Diwali in London committee. The free event is supported by headline sponsor Lebara and media partner Zee TV.

2. The Diwali in London committee includes representatives from Art of Living Foundation, BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir, Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University (UK), Chinmaya Mission UK, Ilford VHP Hindu Temple, International Society for Krishna Consciousness –ISKCON, Metropolitan Police Hindu Association, Oshwal Association of the UK, Sai School Harrow, National Hindu Students Forum UK, The Brahmin Society North London, TAL, Telugu Association of London. For more information about the committee go to www.diwaliinlondon.com.

3. Diwali is five day festival celebrated in India and many other countries around the by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains, which each year takes place between mid-October and mid-November. Diwali is celebrated by Hindu, Sikh and Jain communities across the world between mid-October and mid-November every year.

4. The word Diwali or Deepavali means 'a row of lamps', which are lit to signify the victory of good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance. The festival marks a new beginning, a renewal of commitment to family values, and represents the universally revered values of love, reflection, forgiveness and knowledge.

5. Lebara is one of Europe's leading mobile telecoms operators, enhancing the lives of ethnic and migrant communities by providing high quality and low cost mobile products and services. Lebara provides Pay As You Go mobile SIM cards and related products and services customised to serve the international communities in seven European countries as well as Australia. The London call centre serves all of its European operations, with staff fluent in 27 languages. Lebara’s commitment to customer service and talent development has been recognised in 2012 through eight awards. Most recently they were awarded ‘Best Large Contact Centre’ at the European Call Centre and Customer Service Awards and the company won in three categories at the UK Customer Experience Awards 2012 including Best UK Customer Experience in the IT & Telecoms sector as well as the overall Large Centre across all industries. Lebara is committed to giving back to the communities it serves through its Foundation which was established in 2008. At the 10th anniversary in 2011, the founders committed €10 million to develop a new village and school, near Chennai in South India. The company has also invested in projects in 10 other countries where Lebara customers have family and friends. More information can be found here: www.lebarafoundation.org/ and www.lebara.com

6. ZEE Network - Launched in 1995, ZEE Network, UK was the first South Asian Entertainment Network of its kind. Since then it has grown in popularity and become synonymous with South Asian entertainment. Zee has continually entertained and engages audiences with a unique blend of high-quality, localised and innovative programming. It also offers the world’s largest Hindi film library, with an option of English and French subtitles. Worldwide ZEE has 31 channels and 23 International beams reaching 670 million viewers across 169 Countries through a global entertainment network. Zee is amongst the largest producers and aggregators of Hindi and other South Asian regional language programming in the world. With its commitment to meet audience needs, it has brought five entertainment channels to the UK viewers reaching over 13 million homes which include: Zee TV, Zee Cinema, Zee Punjabi, Zing and Lamhe.