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 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)

Rhythms & Revolution

We have chosen the theme Rhythms and Revolution 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, Ghanaian master-drummer Abass Dodoo reminded us how Africans communicated secretly under the very noses of colonial rulers, and candomble/marakatu specialist Ricardo Axe of how in northeast Brazil - and indeed throughout South America, the Caribbean and Cuba - slaves kept their old traditions, customs and religions alive through music from their native Africa; and this also eventually gave birth to jazz, 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.

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!).

Here's a taster: scroll down this page for a short clip from the workshop led by Ghanaian master-drummer Abass Dodoo at Rich Mix, Sunday October 1st

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