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;

AUTUMN PROGRAMME

A full programme of our autumn activities will be published at the beginning of September. Here is a preview of what is to come...

MUSIC RE:UNITES

Whatever the eventual outcome of Brexit, our society is likely to remain at odds with itself for some time to come. The arts, and music in particular, have the potential to heal rifts and bring people together again. Our autumn projects aim to contribute to that, at a time when it is more important than ever.

Taking Music Re:Unites as the theme are four inter-related strands and two major performances:

1) Masterclasses and performances for the Grand Union Youth Orchestra, . exploring music from the cultures flourishing in East London today, and led by musicians born and brought up in those traditions in GUYO’s ‘home’, Rich Mix (Sundays October 6th, November 10th, December 1st & 15th), culminating in a winter concert (December 15th) 

2) Sounding Bethnal Green – 4 Friday evening events for Black History Month at our base for community projects, St John’s. Curated by Claude Deppa, combining performance with conversation and participation, they bring diverse neighbours together in a programme that reflects their cultures, eg China/Southwest Asia, South Asia, East Europe/Balkans, Somalia (Fridays October 4th, 11th, 18th, 25th).

3) Workshops, performances and a recording by a newly-established ensemble, the Re:Generation Band, at and in collaboration with Poplar Union and Spotlight. It brings together musicians who have ‘graduated’ from GUYO to develop their own material – working also with MCs and Spoken Word artists – learning new improvisation and composing skills through world music
(Tuesday October 22nd to Saturday 26th).

4) Two special performances of Bengal to Bethnal Green, also at Rich Mix, curated by Yousuf Ali Khan. The first features the remarkable Indian classical singer Mahamaya Shil with GUO core musicians, in compositions/arrangements by Tony Haynes; in the second, an emerging local Bengali artist is supported by GUYO & Re:Generation Band musicians, including tabla and sitar (Sundays October 6th & November 10th).

The autumn also sees the culmination of two large scale performance projects with London music hubs, with over 300 young people taking part:
Uncharted Voyage, Fairfield Halls, Croydon Music and Arts (September 27th)
A World Music Odyssey, Hackney Empire, Hackney Music Service (Nov 7th)

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE YEAR SO FAR

MAY

Wednesday 22nd – Grand Union Orchestra All-Stars, Trinity Buoy Wharf
An All-Star 10-piece Grand Union Band specially assembled to launch an exciting new series of jazz events in the atmospheric setting of Trinity Buoy Wharf.

Monday 27th – Band off the Wall, All Points East Festival, Victoria Park
Grand Union’s Dalston Community street band comes off the iconic Peace Mural, and makes its first appearance at East London’s most prestigious festival.

JUNE

Thursday 27th, 7.00pm – A World Music Odyssey Round Chapel, Clapton Collaboration with Hackney Music Service, featuring Hackney Borough Youth Orchestra, the Training Orchestra and other schools ensembles.

JULY

Sunday 7th, 4.00pm - Bengal to Bethnal Green,  Rich Mix A special editiion featuring sarod virtuoso Shahadat Hossein Khan, visiting from Bangladesh, and singer Shyamal Chowdhury with tabla maestro Yousuf Ali Khan.

Saturday 20th, 4.30 to 7.30pm - Sounding Bethnal Green Summer Gala, St John on Bethnal Green Workshops and performances highlighting the wondrous cultural mix of community groups and musicians flourishing in the East End today.

Saturday 27th, 4.00 to 6.00pm - Hillview Estate Festival, King's Cross
Grand Union 6-piece band featuring local Indian singer Mahamaya Shil and her son Joshi on tabla - South Asian music with more than a touch of Carnival! 

Mon 29th - Thurs August 1st, Annual Residential Summer School                Writtle University College, Lordship Rd, Writtle, Chelmsford CM1 3RR
Public performance at 4.30 on Thursday 1st of work created during the Summer School. For full information, go to the Summer School page

AUGUST

Wednesday 7th, 7.00pm – Grand Union Orchestra All-stars Trinity Buoy Wharf, Orchard Place, London E14 0JW
The All-Star 10-piece Grand Union Band assembled to launch the summer's new series of jazz events in the atmospheric setting of Trinity Buoy Wharf returns - bringing the spirit of New Orleans 100 years ago to East London’s own Mississippi delta, the confluence of the River Lea and the Thames!

Read the great feature on Grand Union at Trinity Buoy Wharf in Wharf Life magazine! 


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 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

HIGHLIGHTS FROM AUTUMN 2018:

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)

       

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