RBC Mosaic 2011 Media Release

There may be different paths we take but they all take us to the same God., the legendary Sayein Zahoor's voice echoed for the first time in Mississauga's Celebration on Saturday night as sixth annual Mosaic festival's headliner, while thousands of festival visitors listened in awe the 72 years old BBC Folk Music Artist of the World from Pakistan. Sayein sang for two hours the verses of Baba Bulleh Shah, Mian Mohammed Bakhsh, Baba Farid and many other sufi poets of Punjab loved by punjabi’s on both sides of the India and Pakistan border. They lined up after his performance, waiting, and some up to half hour, to touch or kiss his hands. They presented him with cash money called "vel" or "Nazrana". He told them he loved them and that he has travelled the world but Mississauga has been where he has found the most love and respect.

The 6th annual Mosaic festival presented by RBC ended on high note with crowds cheering for H Dhami and dancing to the Bhangra beats by” Luv to Bhang” on Sunday just after the E En Karma from Vancouver left the stage after a breath taking concert performance only to be invited to accompany Sayein Zahoor in a first ever historical masterpiece combining the new and the old. Festival had just returned to the newly redesigned multi-million dollar Celebration Square with an entertaining and educational weekend commemorating both the history and the future of South Asian culture with over 140 artists who presented dances, visual arts, theatre, dance workshops, film screenings, music, comedy and family activities.

Organized by Canadain Community Arts Initiative, a registered non profit organization, Mosaic Festival is one of North America’s longest-running and the largest free South Asian cultural festival. This year featured fun that the whole family can enjoy. The Festival explores ideas surrounding the past, present and future of the South Asian Canadians, while focusing on the fusion of art and culture. Coupled with great weather and excellent programming, the festival drew record numbers of crowds. Despite a larger number of food and market place vendors present line ups of up to 40 minutes were seen on the Saturday night to buy food. "It was just record number of people', says Asma, one of the founders, chair of the organization and festival director since last six years", "More people showed up than we ever imagined. There were no places to sit on Saturday night. I have seen this festival grow from a mere 3,600 in 2006 to over 50,000 last year. The numbers for this years attendance arent out yet but they are certainly bigger than last year". Despite the disappointment of not seeing Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan, who could not arrive in time due to delay in the visa, the audience gave their support to this largest free, volunteer run festival.

Many political leaders, representatives and dignitaries stopped by and stayed to demonstrate their support to festival including the Minister Harinder Takhar who officially opened the festival together with Minister Charles Sousa, Councillors Ron Starr, Jim Tovey and Chris Fonseca, Consul General of Pakistan Sahebzada A Khan, Senator Salma Ataullah Jan, Tim Hidak, official Leader of the Opposition who came accompanied by many conservative candidates, MP Jim Karigiannis, Jake Dheer of Rogers Television, Lisa Gallacher and Shekher Puri both RVP’s of Royal Bank and Muizzuddin the Country Manager of Pakistan International Airlines in Canada.

Main Stage flanked by the two large LED screens took the attention of the crowds and regular sponsor's logos and music videos of artists kept people engaged. These screens captivated the audience attention on Friday night as David Dhavan 2007 Comedy , “Partner” played as the Mississauga Talkies film.

Earlier, FILMI, non profit organization for Canadian films by actors/film-makers of South Asian descent , programmed the FILMI shorts program , featuring short films by selected film makers . The program also included 1999 Damien O’Donnal film "East is East" on Wednesday July 6 and its sequel 2011 "West is West" by Andy De Emmony screened on Thursday, 7th of July along with screening of rough cut of “tracing Sufi Path” a documentary by Atiya Khan at the Art Gallery of Mississauga.

Sayein Zahoor headlined the festival and mesmerized the music lovers with his incredible talent magnified by his humility and sincerity. A true mystic on stage and in life, Sayein Zahoor’s performance at RBC Mosaic 2011 turned out to be a once in a lifetime experience. His powerful performance forced the organizers to present him on the stage again for a short while on Sunday as people called from other towns to hear his performance.

H Dhami The Bhangra power house from UK was late as he went through the Canadian Immigration and was not able to get to the grounds in time for his performance. However he insisted on greeting his fans and provided them with photo opportunities. He promised to perform for next year’s festival with his entire team.

EnKarma proved to be the powerhouse performance of the festival and were established as North America's pre-eminent Bhangra band in their debut performance in Mississauga. They rocked the crowds and performed their hit songs as audience danced to their every song.

Festival program included a cutting edge exhibition “White Wash” by Amin Ur Rehman at the Art Gallery of Missisauga and “Picture House ;art of Bollywood”. Outdoors, Canadian artist of Pakistani origin, Syed Zafar Shah painted a bill board on site as a tribute to famouse indian film actor and film maker,”Raj Kapoor” whose first film retrospective is organized by TIFF later this September in Toronto sponsored by RBC. RBC also contributed to artistic programming with their innovative and artistic booth where line-ups to get their Picture altered into a Raj Kapoor film frame were at time meant wait of up to half an hour long.

"Desi's Rock" was the newest segment of the festival introduced at the Amphitheatre in the festival grounds was well received. Featuring, Kazak, Swaras, Sing Bandana Singh, Nawtik, Dead Shyre featuring Zamir, Desi's Rock is expected to become a regular feature for young and aspiring musicians and is programmed by Rahim Jettha. Rock the Coliseum, a popular Indie music segment of the festival concluded on a high note, it's Sixth year of programming and bid goodbye to Bushra Mahmood who initiated the project as 17 year old. New youth coordinator will be announced shortly.

RBC Mosaic 2011 is thankful to its sponsors, supporters and its volunteers who made the 2011 event larger than any other free South Asian festival again this year.