Ubuntu - Celebrating cultural diversity
A sea of colour and culture provided the perfect backdrop to the VIVA multicultural festival's youth performances at Federation Square on Sunday March 27, 2011.
The UBUNTU youth stage was the centre of entertainment and fun as young performers celebrated cultural diversity through music and dance.
Held on the same day as the Grand Prix and round one AFL matches, the crowd turnout was impressive with barely a spare seat in the BMW Edge Theatre throughout the day of performances.
A chance for expression
An aboriginal dance group called Koori Youth Will Shake Spears began the proceedings with some traditional dances before reggae band Achol and the Uprising Rebels had the crowd dancing along.
Achol and The Uprising Rebels is made up of band members from Australia, Zimbabwe and Sudan. They have been playing together in Melbourne since 2007.
Sudanese lead singer Rebel said the festival was a great chance for different performers to express themselves.
"It's bringing young people together and bringing different music, different people and ideas all together," he said. "Music is the message, and young people feel that so I think it's great to see all the people enjoying today."
The fans join in
Comedian Nazeem Hussain provided some laughs as MC, forcing a few of the performers to do pushup contests.
The musical acts continued with folk band and RnB group Lady Lash and the Band Of Gypsies, both delighting fans.
Hip-hop dance group Culture Crew, of Australia's Got Talent fame, were one of the most popular acts of the day. They came on and brought the crowd to their feet with a routine of freestyle breakdancing.
One young fan watched on intently and almost upstaged the group by imitating some of the headstands and other moves at the front of the theatre.
An auspicious debut
It was the first time that a youth performance stage has been held as part of the VIVA festival.
Head organizer of UBUNTU, Sarah Wallace, and others in a Victorian Government advisory group known as the Multifaith Multicultural Youth Network (MMYN) (new window) spent more than a year making the UBUNTU stage happen.
"The VIVA festival's been going for a few years, but there was never any stage dedicated to youth so we thought this could be a great chance to get some amazing young performers to add to the celebrations," Sarah said.
"When the MMYN first came up with the idea to have the event we were hoping to showcase artforms and personalities in the community and I think it's done that."
"It's definitely exceeded all expectations we had for the event, the crowd energy and participation was great and we hope this is just the beginning," Sarah said.
Ubuntu means welcome
The MMYN are a group of 25 young people that formed back in 2007 to discuss and advise the state government on issues unique to the multicultural youth community.
They meet around four to six times a year to come up with reports and plan projects and events. The UBUNTU stage was one of their biggest undertakings.
The name "UBUNTU" comes from the Zulu word for welcome. It was chosen to reflect the diversity and spirit of the event.
Closing the UBUNTU stage as the last performers of the day were Ousmane Sonko and Kairo, whose style of music draws from a wide range of different cultures and languages.
Ousmane sang a few songs first in English, then French, as well as a number of different Senegalese dialects. It summed up the culturally diverse celebrations and provided a fitting end to a day of multicultural and multitalented performers.
The festival marked the final day of Victoria's cultural diversity week for 2011.
Articles Written by Josh F
The content of these stories and articles are provided for information and entertainment purposes only. The views expressed are those of our roving reporters/editorial team members and do not necessarily reflect those of the Victorian Government. While every endeavour is made to ensure the currency, accuracy and authenticity of content, it can not be guaranteed. The Victorian Government does not accept any liabilities for any loss, damage, cost or expense you or others might incur as a result of the information or advice (or the use of it) on this website or in the articles. People using the site should undertake responsibility for assessing the relevance and accuracy of its content.