Carnival of Cultures

Sunday 20th March, 10am-4pm

Ashfield is celebrating Harmony Day with a massive program for their annual Carnival of Cultures, headlined by musical legend Archie Roach. Come to Ashfield Park on Sunday March 20, between 10am to 4pm to reconnect, learn and have a lot of fun. The main stage program will be MCd by novelist and translator, Linda Jaivin.


15 Stars

Ciao sat down with John Bishop, leader of the 15 Stars Cook Islands Community Dance Group – our cover stars for this issue – to chat about their performance at the Carnival of Cultures.

What can people expect from your performance at the 2016 Carnival of Cultures?
Something different. Sounds of the drums and singing. And beautiful dancing from girls and boys of the latest generation. We try to teach them the culture from age three.

Tell us about the traditional dances and culture of the Cook Islands?
Our dancing is telling a story. The girls tell the story through swaying and finger movements and the boys shout, which means they are enjoying the dance and they move to the beat of the drum.

What’s the best thing about performing?
The most beautiful thing is promoting our culture. Sharing our culture with the world.

How did the performance group come together?
We started with a small group of just family, and then in 2011 we decided to go out and make the community bigger. Currently the performance group consists of about six people, but in the whole organisation there is about 40 members, including the families.

What does it mean to you to be able to perform at events such as the Carnival of Cultures?
It’s my identity. Being able to tell people where I come from is incredible.

Where did the name 15 Stars come from?
It is based on the 15 islands of the Cook Islands.

• 15 Stars will be performing from 3.30 to 4.00pm on the Main Stage.


Main Stage Program

10.00 – 10.30   Reiko Azuma Trio
10.45 – 11.15   Ashfield Boys High School Stage Band
11.30 – 12.15   Cultural Dance Showcase
12.30 – 12.45   Official Opening , with The Yamma Boys dance troupe
1.00 – 1.30    Chasing the Dreams, Maria Wang on Guzheng Harp
1.45 – 2.15   Green Mohair Suits
2.30 – 3.15   Archie Roach
3.30 – 4.00   15 Stars Cook Islander Community Dance Group

Second Stage

10.30 – 11.30   Citizenship Ceremony
1.00 – 4.00   Ted Noffs Street University Presents Hip Hop & RnB

Bowling Club

1.00 – 4.00    DJ Nic Dalton plays his favourite records

Activities include:
•Barefoot Bowling at the Ashfield Bowling Club
•Medieval performance displays
•Pony Rides and Giant Slide
•Free plant giveaway for Ashfield residents
•Bike mechanic


Top Picks

Reiko Azuma Trio

Ease into carnival day with an intercultural take on Brazilian composer Antonio Carlos Jobim’s bossa nova sounds. Reiko Azuma Trio combines the artistry of two of Sydney’s top jazz musicians, Steve Elphick on double bass and National Jazz Award winner, guitarist Carl Morgan, with the soulful depths of Reiko Azuma’s voice. Together they take Jobim’s bossa nova to new heights, with a twist of modern jazz and international flair. 10.00-10.30am main stage

Cultural Dance Showcase

If you have ever accidentally stumbled into Ashfield’s weekly Frolic in the Forecourt event, you have already experienced a taster of the cultural knowledge and talent of many Ashfield residents. The Carnival of Cultures dance showcase will feature the best of their local dance troupes, including Korean performance ensemble Sydney Arirang, Indian Classical dance (Bharatanatyam), Greek, traditional Polish, Italian and Chinese (Shanshan) cultural dances. 11.30am -12.15pm mainstage

Chasing the Dreams

Chasing the Dreams is a fusion ensemble who fuse pan-Asian influences with blues and rock. The ensemble blends rythyms and instruments from all over the world, including the Chinese Guzheng, classical flute, western guitar and Iranian drums. The core member of the ensemble, Maria Wang, plays the Chinese Harp (Guzheng) and percussion. She has performed in front of a great diversity of audiences, from Tony Abbott, to Buddha Master Hsing Yun, to the audience of iconic Australian rock band ‘Custard’. No matter your musical persuasion, you’ll find the sounds of Chasing the Dreams both surprising and soothing. 1.00-1.30pm main stage

Street University Hip Hop

Ted Noff’s Street University has been performing wonders all over Sydney, firstly in Mt Druitt and Liverpool, and now Ashfield. You can see their nationally acclaimed hip hop and RnB musicians and dancers hit the stage with groove and swag. See Australia’s premiere megacrew The Pioneers perform, as well as the newly formed Western Sydney crew Zealous, choreographed by world champion dancer Taimania ‘Tee’ Foa’i. 1-4pm second stage

Nic Dalton DJs at the Bowlo

Australian bass guitarist, Nic Dalton, is best known for his stint with American rockers Lemonhead. Now he runs record label Half a Cow and also takes pleasure from playing DJ with his collection of vinyl records, harking all the way back to 78s. He has an expansive catalogue of records, spanning from the late ‘20s to the ‘90s; from blues, psychedelic garage punkers and the cream of ‘70s disco, soul and funk through to the late night embarrassment of ‘80s pop. Nic will be spinning the decks from 1-4pm at Ashfield Bowling Club. Get ready to dance!

Green Mohair Suits

Self described as a ‘garage grass’ band, you’ll be enthralled by the folksy harmonies and Tom Waits attitude of this four-piece wonder. The boys behind Green Mohair Suits came together firstly as a casual ensemble socialising and drinking whilst playing the tunes of country artists they loved. Their casual rehearsals snowballed into main stage festival spots, international supports and singles. Currently, they are working on their fourth studio album which they are preparing to record in Lyons, Colorado. The perfect balance of beautiful and brash. 1.45-2.14pm main stage

Archie Roach

Iconic Australian performer and Gunditjmara Bundjalung man, Archie Roach will be headlining the festival in what is sure to be a not-to-be missed performance. Famous for his work as a musician, songwriter, singer and storyteller, Roach wears many hats and has additionally developed into a respected voice for Indigenous rights. Be sure to catch him perform in our local community, before he jets off to play Blues Fest in Byron Bay and launch his upcoming album Let Love Rule. 2.30 – 3.15pm main stage

The Blak Markets

Apart from a great array of international food stalls featuring the delicacies of Ashfield’s Chinese, Nepalese, Turkish and Ethiopian communities, this year’s Carnival of Cultures also includes markets curated by First Hand Solutions Aboriginal Corporation. The Blak Markets will showcase Indigenous arts and craft wares from La Perouse to the Torres Strait. Profits from the Blak Markets will raise funds towards Aboriginal community programs for youth at risk. Find out more here: