Ansar Ahmed Ullah
A concert titled ‘Bengal to Bethnal Green’ featured Bengali classical singer Mahamaya Shil
and Grand Union Orchestra All-Stars, at the Rich Mix, Bethnal Green on 13 October.
Mahamaya Shil performed ragas, Lalon and ballads arranged by Tony Hanes of Grand Union Orchestra. Shil was accompanied by, renowned tabla player & director of Bengal to Bethnal Green, Yousuf Ali Khan and other international musical guests that included Shanti Jayasinha on trumpet, Louise Elliot on flute, Gerry Hunt on guitar, Tony Haynes on piano and Carlos Fuentes on drums for an evening of Bengali music. The evening was presented by London’s foremost world music ensemble Grand Union Orchestra who recently performed for the Mayor of London at the Re:Imagine Festival.
Grand Union have been working in London’s East End communities, performing with many first generation migrant virtuoso musicians for over thirty five years and the 13 Oct concert was part of Grand Union Orchestra’s Autumn Season to remember.
Amid unprecedented social and political turmoil that seeks to divide us still further from one another, London’s unique and unifying world jazz orchestra, Grand Union, reasserts the positive notion that we can re joyous in Britain’s diversity and bring people together through music making.
Many Grand Union musicians are first-generation migrants, professional performers from major musical traditions worldwide, who create a very special musical alchemy through Composer Director Tony Haynes original works. Migration and human stories are often central, vivid themes of Grand Union’s music, and continuing its commitment
to environmental issues. In addition, Grand Union is developing a brand new large-scale participatory project Rising Tides, which will explore the effect of climate change on the livelihoods of people living in coastal cities around the world.
Grand Union has a strong commitment to young musicians, exploring similar themes and sharing ‘world music’ skills and techniques.