Events

​Grand Union's priority is live performance, and since 1982 we have toured regularly - and continue to tour - throughout the whole of the UK and to many parts of Europe and the rest of the world.

For Youth Orchestra events, see also GUYO performances and GUYO workshops pages, and Projects for other activities.
For more on opportunities for participation, see the pages for Grand Union Voices and Band Off The Wall;

SUMMER 2019 PROGRAMME TO BE ANNOUNCED IN LATE APRIL

THE YEAR SO FAR...

Sounding Bethnal Green Is a development of Trading Roots, re-imagined for a series of events on the first and third Friday of each month at St John's Church, to bring to the attention of local residents the extraordinary variety of people and cultures on their doorstep. Combining performance, interview, discussion and practical workshop, and led by professional artists from China, South Asia, Latin America and Africa, they will highlight the remarkable demographic of the neighbourhood and its history through music and musicians flourishing locally. Flyer here

FEBRUARY

Friday 1st: Sounding Bethnal Green, St John's 
Focusing on the South African diaspora, led by trumpeter Claude Deppa and singer/percussionist Marcina Arnold.

Sunday 3rd: Bengal to Bethnal Green, Rich Mix
The first in the 2019 series, featuring singer Nandita Mukherjee. Flyer here

Friday 15th: Sounding Bethnal Green, St John's
Chinese classical and folk music with Shanghai-born gu zheng (Chinese harp) virtuoso Zhu Xiao Meng

Friday 22nd: Bengal, Bhangra and the Blues , Poplar Union
Celebrating International Mother Language Day in a programme devised by tabla maestro Yousuf Ali Khan, joined by young musicians from workshops organised in collaboration with Spotlight and Poplar Union. Full details  here.

Saturday 23rd: What Colour is Jazz?, Chat's Palace, Hackney
Fundraising event for Headway East London, bringing together Grand Union musicians, MOBO-nominated Camilla George and DJ Lex Blondin.

MARCH

Friday 1st: Sounding Bethnal Green, St John's 
Music and musicians from Bangladesh and Southern India, led by Yousuf Ali Khan.

Sunday 3rd: Bengal to Bethnal Green, Rich Mix
The second in the series, featuring singer Zannat Quasari. Flyer here.

Friday 15th: Sounding Bethnal Green
Focusing on the music of Somalia with internationally acclaimed oud player Mohamed Maalo Nuur.

Wednesday 20th: The Rhythm of Rivers, Royal Albert Hall Commissioned for over 1000 musicians and singers by Merton Music Foundation

Monday 25th-Friday 29th: Trading Roots, Cambridgeshire and Norfolk schools
Six Grand Union musicians touring performances and workshops of music from around the world.

APRIL

Friday 5th, 7.00 - 9.00pm: Sounding Bethnal Green
St John on Bethnal Green
Led by Bulgarian percussionist Lilia Iontcheva, focusing on the songs and dance rhythms of Eastern Europe and the Balkans.

Sunday 7th, 4.00pm - Bengal to Bethnal Green, Rich Mix
The last in the current series of immensely popular free events, directed by tabla maestro Yousuf Ali Khan, bringing together local Bengali artists with musicians from the Grand Union Orchestra, featuring singer Suzana Ansari. Flyer here

overview of 2018, AN EXTRAORDINARY YEAR!

Throughout the autumn, to complement the Hackney Museum's exhibition Black British Music in Hackney, Grand Union arranged a complementary programme of workshops and performances. It commemorated 500 years of black music, from its origins in Africa, its transportation to Brazil, Cuba and the Caribbean through the slave trade up to the arrival of the Empire Windrush and beyond. This theme ran through all our events listed below, and workshops and performances with young musicians.

Sunday December 9th, 8.00 pm - Uncharted Crossings
Shoreditch Town Hall, 380 Old St, London EC1V 9LT
Brand new show, featuring the full Grand Union Orchestra and singers, the climax of the programme, celebrating not only Black British Music in Hackney, but the music of the whole of the African-descended diaspora.  Flyer here Full details here

Sunday December 2nd, 7.00pm - Trading Roots
Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA

GUYO's traditional Winter Concert followed the theme of the legacy of Black music in East London, featuring the music or Africa and the Caribbean, explored in the Summer School and autumn workshops.

Sunday November 18th, 3.00 pm & 4.30 pm - The Isle is Full of Noises
Family Concerts - Wimbledon International Music Festival
Musicians, music and instruments from around the world, including GUO stars Zhu Xiao Meng, gu zheng (Chinese harp), tabla maestro Yousuf Ali Khan (Bangladesh), Claude Deppa (trumpet, African drums), Daniel Louis (steel pan) and Carlos Fuentes (South American folk instruments)

Saturday October 27th, 7.30pm - Trading Roots
Poplar Union, 2 Cotall Street, Poplar, London E14 6TL
Celebrating Black History Month, with music from Ghana, Nigeria, Brazil, Cuba, Jamaica and Trinidad, preceded by workshops (details on the GUYO workshop page), with participants joining in the performance.

Saturday October 6th, 11.00am to 4.00pm - Open Workshops
Shoreditch Town Hall, 380 Old St, London EC1V 9LT
Led by charismatic Candomblé expert Ricardo Axé (singer/drummer/dancer) from Northeast Brazil, explaining traditional Yoruba culture and exploring percussion and chant celebrating the orixas (spirits). 

Thursday October 4th, 8.00pm - Hackney Museum Exhibition launch event    Informal evening with Grand Union and guest local musicians to celebrate the opening of the Museum's Exhibition Black British Music in Hackney
Hackney Empire Bar & Cafe, 291 Mare Street, London. E8 1EJ.

TRADING ROOTS AT THE VORTEX was a ground-breaking residency of monthly Friday night performances throughout the spring and summer, exchanging and combining different musical traditions, featuring outstanding improvising musicians from around the world with a 5-strong Grand Union ‘house band’; and open workshops the following morning for local musicians to meet and work with them, residency flyer here.

Friday August 3rd, 8.00 pm – Trading Roots (see above)
Vortex Jazz Club, 11 Gillett Square, London N16 8AZ
Featuring Brazilian Candomblé expert Ricardo Axé (singer/drummer/dancer) and students from the Grand Union Summer School
Saturday 4th, 11.00 am: open workshop with Ricardo

July 30th to August 2nd - GUO annual residential Summer School
Chelmsford - Writtle University College, Lordship Rd, Writtle, CM1 3RR
For details, go to our Summer School page.

Saturday July 14th, 7.30 pm – What the River Brings
St John on Bethnal Green, London E2 9PA
A spectacular new show with performers from across the whole of East London. The 70 th anniversary of the arrival of the Empire Windrush provided the ideal opportunity to celebrate migrants past and present, and their music and musicians, who have done so much to shape our culture. Full details here, download flyer here

Friday July 6th, 8.00 pm – Trading Roots, Vortex
Featuring Zhu Xiao Meng (gu zheng – Chinese harp), Ruijun Hu (dizi, xiao – Chinese flutes) and Kevin Robinson (trumpet,flugelhorn)
Saturday 7 th, 11.00 am: open workshop with Zhu

Sunday June 17th, 12.30-3.00 – Grand Union Youth Orchestra
Tower of London Festival, London EC3N 4AB
All day festival at the Tower, featuring the cream of young musicians and ensembles from across the whole of London.

Friday June 1st, 8.00 pm – Trading Roots, Vortex
The second event of the series, featuring steel pan virtuoso Daniel Louis (St Lucia) and South African trumpeter Claude Deppa.
Saturday 2nd, 11.00 am: open workshop led by Daniel

Sunday May 20th, 7.00 pm - 'Big Band in a Day'
Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club
A youth jazz orchestra project with a difference: under the direction of Claude Deppa and Tony Haynes, 16 young musicians from different musical cultures created a programme during the day, and performed it in the evening as support act for the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra.

Sunday May 6th, 4.00 pm - Bengal to Bethnal Green, Rich Mix
Full details on the flyer here The last in this season's programme rounded off an extraordinary weekend of jazz and South Asian music with another remarkable classical singer Kumar Shashwat with Yousuf Ali Khan (tabla), Louise Elliott (flute, tenor saxophone), Sunil Jadev (accordian) and Gerry Hunt (bass guitar)

Friday May 4th, 8.00 pm – Trading Roots, Vortex
The first event featured Carnatic violinist Jyotsna Srikanth and North Indian classical singer Mahamaya Shil, with tabla maestro Yousuf Ali Khan (Bangladesh)
Saturday 5 th, 11.00 am: open workshop with Jyotsna

Friday March 23rd - Trading Roots, St Mary Magdalene Church, Croydon
Grand Union Second Generation Orchestra with Croydon Youth Concert Orchestra
An astonishingly successful project - one of our very best collaborations of this kind - bringing together Grand Union musicians from around the world with the 60-strong youth orchestra in a global journey in music composed and arranged by Tony Haynes. Read the full Programme here

Sunday February 4th - Bengal to Bethnal Green, Rich Mix
The first in the 2018 series of immensely popular free events, directed by tabla maestro Yousuf Ali Khan and bringing together local Bengali artists with musicians from the Grand Union Orchestra, featured singer Kawsar Habib

Perch by edgeofmyseat.com

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