The Grand Union Youth Orchestra runs monthly masterclasses/workshops for its members as well as open introductory workshops during school holidays and half-terms for new recruits. It is recommended that you attend an introductory workshop before attending our monthly sessions.

The Autumn flyer gives full details. Contact Nadia Nervo on 0208 981 1551 or to find out more.


Sunday October 1st, 10.00-13.30  - GUYO masterclass, Abass Dodoo
Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA
Led by master-drummer Abass Dodoo in rhythms and songs from Ghana

Sunday November 5th, 10.00-13.30 - GUYO masterclass, Emeris Solis
Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA
Led by Colombian Emeris Solis in currulao and bunde rhythms and songs

Sunday December 3rd - GUYO & guests, Rhythms and Revolution
Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA
12.00-14.30 - workshop
15.30-18.00 - rehearsal
19.00-21.00 - public performance (see events page for details)
Members of GUYO and Summer School participants will be joined for this event by young musicians from Eseex and Cambridgeshire, and the performance will feature pieces created by them in response to the theme.

Rhythms and Revolution

We have chosen this theme for the GUYO autumn programme partly as a contribution to Rich Mix’s programme throughout 2017 commemorating the Russian revolution, but also for wholly musical reasons.

Drums and drumming have always been associated with insurgency, a means of gaining attention and gathering momentum; but rhythm can also be more subtly subversive. ..

In their masterclasses, Abass will remind us how Africans communicated secretly under the very noses of colonial rulers, and Emeris of how indigenous music melded with European music brought to South America by the Spanish. Throughout South America, the Caribbean and Cuba slaves kept their old traditions, customs and religions alive through music from their native Africa; and rhis gave birth to jazz, perhaps the most revolutionary music of all, with its additional emphasis on improvisation.

In fact, throughout musical history – even in European classical music – rhythm has often been the driver of change, whether musical, cultural, social or political.

This programme gives young musicians the opportunity to explore these ideas for themselves. It continues the process begun in this year’s Summer School, and work created by participants then and by GUYO members during the autumn programme in response to this theme will be performed in the concert at Rich Mix on December 3rd.

Generally the monthly masterclasses/workshops are led by different world-musicians from the Grand Union Orchestra, and focus on various styles and techniques of world music and jazz including Indian classical ragas, African songs and chants, township music, call and response techniques, Latin-American rhythms, Eastern European and gypsy music (to name but a few!).

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