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71: 2020 Vision

In his latest blog, Tony writes: 'Whatever happens in 2020, it is surely going to be an extraordinary year. In the last few Posts, I’ve highlighted the need to reflect on our society today and the necessity of bringing people together again in some kind of harmony. This requires empathy – the capacity to imagine and understand the lives and concerns of other people, however different from your own.…

Read more here...

Highlights of the autumn programme

2019 saw Grand Union performing at major festivals and venues from All Points East, to the cool new docklands jazz environs of Trinity Buoy Wharf, in the refurbished splendour of Croydon’s Fairfield Halls and the glorious surrounds of the Hackney Empire, with bookings and plans for a return to these venues in 2020.
“happy, buoyant jazz that felt like it was really celebrating something, and I loved how global the band were!” (Loving Living London)


Throughout the year Grand Union’s Youth Orchestra and the aspiring professional Re:Generation band will continue their learning journey of musical masterclasses, workshops and performances staged at Rich Mix, Poplar Union and Spotlight all in the heart of East London.

FREE workshops this February Half Term

Calling all 12-19 year olds who love music and
want the chance to take part and perform at Poplar Union

Young musicians are invited to join renowned tabla maestro, Yousuf Ali Khan, in these free music workshops, this time focusing on the music of the Asian sub-continent – including Bengali songs, bhangra and classical ragas, combined with other contemporary styles like reggae, salsa and jazz. Musicians then have the opportunity to join the Grand Union Orchestra in a performance on Friday 21 February at Poplar Union.

Wednesday 19 February at 10am-5pm  
at Poplar Union (E14 6TL) 

Friday 21 February at Poplar Union (E14 6TL) at 2pm-6pm

This rehearsal session will be followed by the big performance which will start at 7.00pm.

Find out more here.


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Welcome to our first newsletter of 2020!

We want to wish you a Happy New Year and thank you for all your support in 2019!

We have some big plans for 2020, with exciting performances and workshops, celebrating the communities and musical traditions of many of the diasporas thriving in contemporary Britain’s cultural landscape.

So make sure you stay tuned!

In 2020-21 Bangladesh will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, ‘Father of the Nation’ in a year long programme of events ending with the Golden Jubilee of Independence on March 26, 2021.

Grand Union is honoured to be taking part in these celebrations, beginning on Friday 16th and March 1st 2020, with two special concerts at Rich Mix. The first is built around the songs of the legendary poet/baul singer Lalon Shah, performed by Amith Dey; the second features Lucy Rahman, singing the songs of her father Luthfur Rahman (an iconic voice and activist in the struggle for independence) with Shyamal Chowdhury from Bangladesh,  another renowned interpreter of these songs, with the Grand Union Orchestra All-stars.
This concert will also include a performance of The Mother, the River, written by Tony Haynes for Lucy Rahman, a deeply moving description of the war in which a mother prays for the safe return of her son.

More information here 


Directed by tabla maestro Yousuf Ali Khan, these two concerts also frame a short residency at Poplar Union February 17th to 19th – workshops in Bengali music and song culminating in a partcipatory concert on another important day in the Bangladesh calendar, Language Day.
£10 (£5 Concs)
Family £15 (4 people)
GUYO Spring Masterclasses
Monthly masterclasses are the bedrock of GUYO, complemented by frequent public performances, short residencies, the annual Summer School and the Second Generation programme. Over the years, several GUYO members have gone on to become regular players with the parent GUO, helping consolidate its legacy and share their experience with their peers. The Summer School takes place in July for a week each year, lead by GUO’s virtuoso professional musicians and bursaries and non-residential places are available.

Register your interest (with no obligation) in the Summer School now, and make sure you are among the first to hear updated details, and sign up here here.

The first masterclass will take place on Sunday the 3rd of February, this session is particularly targeted at new members and anyone else interested in finding out about the range of musical experiences Grand Union uniquely offers. It will be led by Claude Deppa (trumpet, African drums). 

Sunday the 3rd of February 10.00am - 1.30pm @ Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA
Download the Spring flyer here
Check our  social media for any updates. We are now on Instagram, as well as Twitter and Facebook. 
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