Parramasala Festival to showcase the many cultures of western Sydney

A record number of nationalities will be showcased at this year's Parramasala Festival in Sydney's west, organisers of the long-running event have pledged.

Now in its seventh year, the festival has grown from its humble beginnings as an Indian festival to one encompassing the dozens of cultures in Western Sydney.

Photo: An inflatable statue making the peace sign aims to capture the multicultural aspects of the west. (ABC News Jackson Vernon)

Ghanan-born Lucky Lartey is an example of how the festival has evolved.

He is part of a group musical number which is blending traditional dancing from his native West Africa with Indonesian, Balinese and Sri Lankan song and movement.

"It's not even verbal, it's to see how many different cultures are coming together and music is a way of bringing them together even without our voice," he said.

His dance incorporates movements passed down over hundreds of generations across West Africa.

"[In] West Africa dance is a celebration...and it holds a lot of history and stories of the community," he said.

"We use dance to celebrate the harvest, we use dance to mourn, we use dance when a new baby is born so every little activity, music and dance is part of it."

Something from every continent...

The festival allows artists of all crafts to showcase the rich cultural diversity of the west.

Towering above the event will be a seven-metre-tall inflatable statue in the shape of a porcelain doll making a peace sign.

The artist, Thailand-born Vipoo Srivilasa, said he wanted to capture the multiculturalism of the west.

Photo: A dancer practices for the three-day celebration of cultures. (ABC News: Jackson Vernon)

"Each of the designs on the Kikko (inflatable doll) come from different patterns from around the world and if you look closely at them, they represent the four elements: earth, fire, water, and air," he said.

But Mr Srivilasa said he also drew inspiration from events in his birth country.

"Last year was a really bad year for me with the King passing away, the King of Thailand passing away, so I wanted to make something happy. Make something cheerful and uplifting," he said.

Festival Director Di Henry is the brainchild behind many major international events including the Sydney and London Olympic Games.

She said this year's event will be the biggest yet.

"We've been building towards it but I think this time you really are going to get someone from every continent," she said.

"It very much had its traditions, it's been going for seven festivals, it had its traditions in South Asia and India especially, it's been evolving and I like to say we're a very broad church and we are showcasing all of the cultures that are in western Sydney as much as possible."

The festival will kick off on Friday night with a street parade involving more than 1,000 marchers through Parramatta and events will run all weekend.

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Article Parramasala Festival to showcase the many cultures of western Sydney compiled by www.abc.net.au

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