PREVIEW: Grand Union Orchestra – The Isle is Full of Noises (various East London venues, April 12th- 26th)

Grand Union Orchestra

Grand Union Orchestra will celebrate the end of a two-year project with like-minded companies in France and Portugal, funded by the European Union. GUO has put together “The Isle is Full of Noises (Migration and the Arts in Britain)” at various East London venues, running for two weeks in East London in April. GUO Artistic Director Tony Haynes looks forward to it. He writes:

The programme for these GUO events ingeniously connects several very different topical issues – the imbalance of funding towards opera and classical music, the need for production and distribution of a wider range of artistic work, how to respond to the UK’s rapidly changing demographic, and even the thorny question of immigration. Above all, however, there are some great gigs:

– Both the launch at Rich Mix, Sunday April 12th  and Bengal Tiger, Shanghai Dragon at the Vortex on Friday April 17th bring together such jazz luminaries as Shanti Paul Jayasinha, Claude Deppa, Chris Biscoe and Paul Clarvis with the stunning gu zheng (Chinese harp) player Zhu Xiao Meng, virtuoso Carnatic violinist Jyotsna Srikanth, tabla genius Yousuf Ali Khan, Gypsy accordianist Ionel Mandache and steel pan maestro Daniel Louis in music I’ve put together that combines improvisation styles from around the world in different harmonic and rhythmic settings.

– Other noteworthy gigs are the return of the World Choir we assembled for our acclaimed show Undream’d Shores at the Hackney Empire last autumn (Saturday April 18th, St John’s Bethnal Green)

– Our resolutely cross-cultural Grand Union Youth Orchestra, will be joined by young guest performers representing all the major musical traditions flourishing in East London today (Sunday April 19th, Brady Centre, Whitechapel).

– The programme finishes with an Open Forum hosted by Kavita Datta of the Centre for the Study of Migration at Queen Mary University of London (Saturday April 25th), where musicians can gather to discuss these issues – in short, how art and artists can and should reflect and respond to the UK’s changing population (booking esseintial) and an open jazz and world music workshop Sunday April 26th 2-6pm (free entry), followed by informal performance 7-8.30pm.

The main aim of the whole project is to present music that could only be imagined and created because we live in a society shaped by migration – which of course is exactly what happened in New Orleans over a century ago.


Details of all events
Grand Union website
Tony Haynes has also written about this project in his monthly blog
Preview of On The Edge from 2013
Review of Undream’d Shores from 2014

Categories: miscellaneous

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