Bengal to Bethnal Green

Based in East London, Grand Union has been bringing Bengal to Bethnal Green for more than two decades - working with local artists, projects with young people and the Bengali community, enchanting audiences...

Our flagship programme Bengal to Bethnal Green has been running monthly on Sunday afternoons at Rich Mix for over five years. It features popular local Bengali artists in collaboration with Grand Union musicians from other musical traditions worldwide, and is directed by our internationally celebrated tabla maestro  Yousuf Ali Khan.

The music is based on Bengali songs, both in traditional form and combined with other musical cultures and contemporary styles, reflecting the wide variety of music in London's East End today.

The last event in the current series is on  Sunday March 5th. A new series will begin in the Autumn. As entrance is free, we rely very much on public donations. If you would like to subscribe to keep this unique venture alive, click here for further details or sign up through this online form.

 

Grand Union musicians also visit Bangladesh from time to time, working with well-known artists there. Here are two famous singers performing with the Grand Union Orchestra, in special arrangements by Tony Haynes at the Tower Hamlets Boishakhi Mela:

               





And here is a 25 minute documentary of one of our visits to Dhaka, where you can see us meeting and rehearsing with these musicians, Sumi and Kala Miah for those Mela performances:

               


Tony Haynes also writes remarkable songs featuring Bengali artists for Grand Union's major touring shows in collaboration with distinguished Bangladeshi writers. Here in  Now Comes the Dragon's Hour, a Brick Lane waiter recalls the rain clattering on his tin roof back in Sylhet, and sings nostalgically of the wife he left back home:


The same two singers, Akash Sultan and Lucy Rahman, are also heard in this highly dramatic song from  If Paradise:


Yousuf Ali Khan is also a respected teacher and he and Grand Union musicians frequently arrange outreach workshops and participatory projects in local schools and adult community locations.

               

Latest News

Huge success of Song of Contagion!

Fantastic audience responses to the recent shows Wilton's Music Hall

New BBC interview

Director Tony Haynes talks to Jimoke Fashola about this week's premiere of Song of Contagion. Skip to 02.52.04 to listen.

Song of Contagion promo video released

Featuring a taste of the music you will hear in our spectacular new show and interviews from the musicians involved

Booking opens for Song of Contagion!

Wilton's Music Hall, June 13th to 17th: tickets now on sale for our spectacular new show

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Our fourth annual Summer School runs from July 31st to August 3rd, Goldsmiths College, South London.

Exciting plans unveiled for 2017!

GUO's programme for the new year includes a brand new show at Wilton's Music Hall and a return to Portugal.

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Video of The Beast is Back by Tony Haynes, recorded at the GUO commemoration of the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Cable Street in October

High praise for GUO music education project

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GUO tracks are now available online...

Grand Union CDs and individual numbers can now be streamed from Spotify or bought from iTunes

Full-length DVD of Undream'd Shores

A DVD of the acclaimed Hackney Empire production is now available from the GUO online shop.

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