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Grand Union Orchestra – Open Workshop

Practical hands-on workshop exploring the musical and religious tradition of Candomblé (West African Yoruba culture as practised in Northeast Brazil), for reasonably able musicians of all ages, led by Ricardo Axé as part of Grand Union’s
Trading Roots residency.

Brazilian Ricardo Axé (drummer/singer/dancer) is a celebrated and charismatic exponent of Candomblé. This ancient musical/cultural/religious tradition, still flourishing in Bahia and Salvador, was brought to Northeast Brazil from West Africa during the transatlantic slave trade. Like Santeria in Cuba, it is descended from Yoruba culture, and reflects its African roots in chants and drum rhythms associated with orishas like Ogun, Oxossi and Ramunya. Ricardo will describe and enact the rituals of candomblé, and – with the aid of Grand Union musicians and students from their recent Summer School – evoke these ancestral spirits through music. The Saturday morning open workshop offers an opportunity to learn more and explore at first hand.

Time: 11am – 2pm (open public performance 1.30pm)

This programme aims to bring together and demonstrate the wide range of music and musicians flourishing in East London today. Most of the musicians involved in Trading Roots are first generation migrants, with unique skills in music from around the world to share and pass on to others; hence the title, suggesting also voyages of discovery. This is an important part of Grand Union’s mission, and to put this principle into practice we have set up the Second Generation Orchestra. Each of these gigs therefore will feature also a guest young musician.

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