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Glitz, glamour and culture at Mega Maalai XIV

Photographs: Bee Sounds

British students from across the country came together in London this weekend to watch a variety show that masterfully blended Tamil culture with glitz and glamour at ‘Mega Maalai XIV’.

Hosted by Imperial College London’s Tamil Society, this year’s show was held at the indig02 inside the world famous O2 building in London. Taking place for the 21st year in a row, the UK’s longest running Tamil student show, proved to be a night filled with explosive talent, with several acts rooting themselves in Tamil culture.

With all the proceeds from the show going to supporting worthy causes (TamilAid, United Kingdom Tamil Students Union and South Asian Autism Awareness Campaign), there was no excuse not to come down as hundreds of students, friends and family flocked to the central London location.

The show kicked off with a traditional music performance from ‘Eastern Revz’, before 10 year old S Suthakaran dazzled the crowd with his impeccable dance moves. More stunning dance performances followed, from Funkology, a hip hop crew based in London choreographed by an Imperial phD student, and from Radha Nadiyaa, retelling the romance of Radha and Krishna.

One particularly moving act tugged at the audience’s heartstrings, depicting life for a Tamil girl growing up in North-East Sri Lanka, living through oppression and armed conflict. Set to the music of London-born Tamil artist M.I.A., the performance illustrated the shattered livelihood of the Tamil people, before urging the audience to ‘raise her voice’.

Traditional Tamil acts were not amiss with the English classic The Tempest by William Shakespeare, given a Tamil twist with a traditional ‘koothu’ style retelling and folk parai drummers taking to the stage.

The audience were treated to a smorgasbord of musical talent with numbers from the talented soloist Rachel Rajan, the up and coming Piri Musiq, soulful r’n’b group VBZ, GJ Art’s Soul and Harmony medley, Crawley Pakkam, as well as from rappers Sujeeth G, hard hitting bars from MC Ellaalan, MC Starboy rapping about his mother tongue and a special guest appearance from German Tamil Kadhalviruz, had the crowd roaring all throughout the night.

A cosmopolitan fashion show, showcasing the finest designs from East to West (as well as the most exquisite models that London had to offer) also ensured the crowd were fully captivated. With more show stopping dance performances throughout the night, from Visionary Flow, all-female street group Femme Fatale, an eclectic Fusion Bharatnatyam performance, a flawless exhibition from The Gift and Curse and a fiery Gaana dance performance providing a fitting finale.

Tamil Guardian also managed to catch up with some of the performers back stage, as they were warming up. See our short interviews below.

Speaking to the Tamil Guardian after the show, an Imperial Tamil Society committee member stated the show was

“A great experience and a unique one that brought together all the Tamils in the society”

“It showed the potential of the Tamil youth and what they can do with a determination and drive to achieve extraordinary things together.”

“I feel very proud that genuine Tamil folk acts have, for the first time, been brought to the forefront of the student community – koothu, parai and naadakam. Parai especially went down well!”

“It showcased our unique Eelam Tamil culture. I was also amazed at the multitude of varied talents within the Tamil student community and want to thank them for being part of the show!”

All photographs and videos are courtesy of Bee Sounds.

Stay tuned for more exclusive photos from their Facebook page here.

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