EAST LONDON’S GRAND UNION ORCHESTRA BLAZE A TRAIL FOR THE NEXT GENERATION THROUGH A SERIES OF SPRING AND SUMMER CONCERTS, WORKSHOPS AND EVENTS.
Grand Union is a unique, multicultural, intergenerational orchestra that also champions the virtues of education and social cohesion besides musical excellence.
Under visionary composer/director Tony Haynes, and recognised as one of the leading exponents of cross-cultural music making in the UK, the orchestra is presenting a diverse programme of work this spring and summer that demonstrates what it does best.
Central to the programme is a run of events at East London’s Vortex Jazz Clubentitled ‘Trading Roots’, in which a range of global musical traditions will be explored by outstanding players from around the world, their expert skill and improvisation backed by a five piece Grand Union ‘house band’. Performances on the first Friday of every month from May to August will be followed byfree open workshops on Saturday mornings, where local and aspiring musicians can meet, converse and explore how these global traditions can link to jazz and improvisation, finishing with collaborative performances.
May’s opener will present Indian classical music, where Carnatic violinist Jyotsna Srikanth will be joined by North Indian classical singer Mahamaya Shil and Bangladeshi tabla player Yousuf Ali Khan. In June, Caribbean and South African township music will be showcased by steel pan virtuoso Daniel Louis and trumpeter Claude Deppa.
July’s concert is built around Chinese traditional and court music from harpist Zhu Xiao Meng and Chinese flautist Ruijun Hu, with Shanti Jayasinha on trumpet and cello; while August’s series finale will feature musicians and tutors from the Grand Union Orchestra’s Summer School, followed by a workshop in South American music on the Saturday.
Most of those involved in the Trading Roots series are first generation migrants with unique skills in music from around the world, sharing their valuable knowledge and experience with all who attend. This is typical of the work that Grand Union does, and an important part of its mission to highlight the contribution that immigrant musicians and communities (particularly in the East End) make to music in London and to British culture in general.
Moreover, Grand Union has established its own Youth Orchestra, an annual residential Summer
School and a ‘Second Generation Orchestra’ for emerging young professionals, some of whom will feature in the Trading Roots series. To learn more about this voyage of discovery and Grand Union’s other pioneering work, please visit: http://grandunion.org.uk/events.php