Grand Union's priority is live performance, and touring its work as widely as possible. Some shows feature only musicians and singers from the Grand Union Orchestra, others may involve amateur or student performers. All are cross-cultural, colourful, dramatic and deal with contemporary issues.
Current touring shows
UNDREAM'D SHORES - premiered at London's Hackney Empire, autumn 2014 - is about migration past and present. It provides opportunities for local participation, complemented by a range of outreach projects, and is still available throughout the UK. Full details here.
AFTER CABLE STREET is Grand Union's latest show, produced for London's Rich Mix in October 2016 to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the 'Battle', currently being worked up into a powerful one-hour stand-alone piece. Full details here.
Shows still in repertoire
Smaller scale shows
TRADING ROOTS is a new initiative, answering the need for something smaller and flexible, but embodying the principles and practice of Undream'd Shores and other larger projects. It typically combines 10 to 18 performers drawn from a pool of about 24 core Grand Union musicians born and bred into many different major musical traditions worldwide. Besides stand-alone performances, it also provides ample scope for workshops, and often participants (adults or young people) can be included in the performance. It is also a useful vehicle for recruiting new performers to GUO.
There are also other projects like Trading Roots featuring different combinations of performers. One of the most unusual - and very popular - is Bengal Tiger, Shanghai Dragon, which brings together virtuoso Chinese musicians like Zhu Xiao Meng (gu zheng) and Ruijun Hu (Chinese flutes) with Bengali (Yousuf Ali Khan - tabla/voice), Hindustani (Baluji Shrivastav - sitar/dilruba and Carnatic (Jyotsna Srikanth - violin) musicians.
Bengal to Bethnal Green is an ongoing series of performances running monthly at Rich Mix Arts Centre, led by GUO table maestro Yousuf Ali Khan. It features popular local Bengali artists supported by Grand Union musicians. The music is based on Bengali songs, both in traditional form and combined with other musical cultures and contemporary styles. Performances are listed on the Events page.
Other specialist combinations similarly spotlight Turkish (Gunes Cerit - baglama/voice), Gypsy (Ionel Mandache - accordion), African (Mingo Rangel - guitar/voice), Caribbean (Daniel Louis - steel pan), South American (Carlos Fuentes - Latin percussion) and a myriad other varied artists.
More information can be found here, and there are many recordings can be found on our Music Page and Soundcloud Channel. Here is just one, Mexe Mexe - a delightful dance track with irresistible rhythm by Mozambican singer/guitarist Mingo Rangel with Maria Joao Silveira (voice) from Around the World in 80 Minutes.
If you like what you see, have a look at our upcoming live dates.