Reviews

Here are some highlights from reviews from Grand Union’s recent performances. Click on the links below to view whole articles.

Neon Nettle on Undream’d Shores (2014)

“Anybody living in East London today is witness to the generations of migrants who moulded the city, creating an identity of multi culture across all spectrums. The Grand Union Orchestra new show - 'Undreamed Shores', does just that with an elegant ease with a compilation of hundreds of performers, each adding flavour and dynamic to the overwhelmingly impressive soundscape.” Full review here

BBC Music Magazine on Undream'd Shores (2014)

"This show, based on themes of migration, is the latest Grand Union offering staged at the Hackney Empire. A dazzling display of instrumental and vocal talent, there are no doubts about its inclusive ambition. Music from Portugal, England, China, West Africa, Turkey, Latin America, Bangladesh, India and the Caribbean vies for attention with big band workouts, choral call-and-answer pieces and even the odd prog rock moment. It is an impressive feat of musicianship.

During the recurring rest points when fresh instrumental and vocal colours (including Chinese harp and Portuguese guitar) are given lyrical prominence, there are moments of true suspense and mystery. Equally electric, if speaking an altogether different language, is a jazz-rock explosion early in the show when trumpet, alto clarinet and alto saxophone soloists chase each other over a rollicking swing beat. The downside with allowing so many voices to be heard is that there is occasionally a feeling of wanting to lean in and allow some more time to a particular artist or tradition." Full review here

London Jazz on Undream’d Shores (2014) by Duncan Heining

“The Grand Union Orchestra has been making great, radical world jazz in the musical melting pot of London’s East End for thirty years. By rights, Undream’d Shores, their most elaborate and expansive show yet, should have filled the Festival Hall. Surely only neglect and ignorance keeps GUO out of such august venues. Wouldn’t you think these tales of migration, exile, loss and ultimate transcendence would strike a chord everywhere and melt even the most jaded and cynical of hearts? No matter, this is East End jazz in its rightful home at the Hackney Empire.” Full review here

A more detailed review by the same author appeared in All About Jazz

Jazzwise on 11.11.11 (February 2012 Issue) 

“There is really nothing quite like the Grand Union Orchestra. It reaches out to areas of the music and of life, that lesser ensembles would shy away from – or worse dabble in for vanity’s sake.” Full review here

Hackney Gazette On Liberation Street (2009), reviewed in local paper

“It took 12 weeks of rehearsals with a dozen schools and some 150 participants, but when the Grand Union Orchestra’s collaborative show, ‘On Liberation Street’, finally hit the Hackney Empire on March 20th and 21st, it was a joyful and exhilarating sight.” Full review here 

David Pullock, Australian evening news, Queen’s Hall in Melbourne, Australia (2003)

“Given the non-stop experimentation that’s obviously a by-product of fusing all these sounds together, the way they fit has a surprisingly practised naturalism, with the odd jarring moment which inevitably ensues, only colouring their vivid musical palette even more.” Full review here

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

Dates announced for 2017 Summer School

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.

Remembering Cable Street

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

Read about Music Untamed at the Fairfield Halls, Croydon, supported by the Mayor's Music Fund

Band Off The Wall

Inspired by the Peace Mural at Dalston Junction, Grand Union has launched a new street band for Hackney

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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