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Byron Shire
March 6, 2021

There’s harmony in diversity

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Nigel Stewart and Uncle Lewis Walker, who opened the Harmony Day Festival, flank Bahati Samima from the TranceQ dance group. Now a resident of Byron, Bahati is originally from Rwanda. Photo Jeff Dawson

The sounds and smells of Asia and beyond wafted through the annual Harmony Day multicultural festival at the Byron Community Centre on Saturday.

Children were the focus of many of the activities this year with kids being taught the intricacies of flamenco hand and feet movements by El Bari’s Louise Robinson.

Children also had the crafty chance to make banners and listen to interactive plays and stories with puppetry and of course no day would be complete without the ever-popular face painting.

Food again was a highlight and punters had the opportunity to sample delights from Indonesia, Chile, Italy, and Japan and rumour has it that the beef rendang and nasi goreng were excellent.

MC Tjintana Matahari presented a variety of artists to audiences during the afternoon community concert. AIAA artist-in-residence Made Denis, a Balinese musician originally from the traditional village of Tianyar, performed on the gamelan.

Also on stage was an Indigenous Welcome to Country with Nigel Stewart and Lewis Walker as well as the El Bari flamenco troupe, Belladonna’s Bollywood belly-dancing troupe, Passion Flamenca, the Barefoot Gypsies tribal belly-dancing troupe, music from Kobya Mozambique-roots, latin tunes from Pasando and Yolanda and a Hawaiian dance with Lilith.

Harmony Day coordinator Yvonne Jessup said the event was a great success all participants enjoying the activities.

‘The celebration of cultural diversity meant as much to the performers as it did to the audiences.

‘People are always amazed at how wonderful it is.’

According to the federal Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC), ‘Harmony Day is celebrated around Australia each year. The day is also the United Nation’s International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

‘Harmony Day… gives people the opportunity to celebrate what makes each Australian unique and share what we have in common.

‘The continuing message for Harmony Day in 2012 is that Everyone Belongs, which means all Australians are a welcome part of our country, regardless of their background.’

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