Ten Years of the Grand Union Youth Orchestra

The Grand Union Youth Orchestra, London’s pioneering world music and jazz ensemble for young musicians, celebrates its tenth anniversary this year. They will be marking the occasion with a special concert, showcasing styles from bhangra, to West African drumming and Yoruba chant, through calypso, ska and reggae to salsa, samba and infectious dance rhythms of South America.

At the Grand Union Summer School and throughout the autumn, GUYO musicians have been working on a programme to commemorate the centenary of the Russian Revolution. Here's what they had to say: "Drums and drumming have always been associated with insurgency, and throughout history rhythm has often been the driver of change – whether musical, cultural, social or political. It can be subtly subversive too." 

Throughout 2017, in workshops with distinguished African, South Asian and Latin-American percussionists and drummers, GUYO members have been exploring the revolutionary history of music: how Africans communicated secretly under the very noses of colonial rulers; how throughout South America, the Caribbean and Cuba slaves kept their old traditions, customs and religions alive through music from their native Africa; candomblé and maracatú thrive in northeast Brazil today; varieties of bhangra and classical Indian music flourish in the Caribbean today; and how in the USA all this also eventually gave birth to jazz, the most revolutionary music of all, with its emphasis on improvisation.

"We're thrilled to be celebrating GUYO's 10th Anniversary here at Rich Mix. Grand Union are long-standing friends and partners of Rich Mix, sharing our passionate belief that great music can bring together people from different backgrounds." - Oliver Carruthers, Artistic Director at Rich Mix

Rich Mix is proud to have supported the Grand Union Youth Orchestra in their ten year journey.

Get your ticket to the concert here.

This event is part of our Revolution17 programme