Golden Road, Unforgiving Sea
Music by Tony Haynes
Lyrics by David Bradford, Manuel Alegre, Sara Clifford, Masud Ahamed, Colin Sell
Commissioned by the BBC as the centre-piece of Trading Roots, a remarkable collaboration between the BBC Concert Orchestra and the Grand Union Orchestra, performed and recorded at the Hackney Empire on March 6th for broadcast on Radio 3.
Imagine a journey through space and time - by land to the Orient, by sea to the East Indies and beyond - beginning with that taken by traders centuries ago.
Imagine the dangers and delights of those journeys, along the Silk Road from Italy, Turkey and the Arab world, or along the Spice Route pioneered by intrepid Portuguese navigators; imagine the spread of civilisation and culture in both directions, the growth of Islam and Christianity.
Now imagine that journey today, in the shrunken, globalised world we now inhabit, prey to war-mongers and dealers in questionable commodities and uncertain futures…
Carrying you along that route, with a narrative driven by a wealth of original songs in English, Portuguese and Bengali and powered by the ancient rhythms of Asia and Africa, this new work by Tony Haynes showcases the BBC Concert Orchestra’s sumptuous strings, wind and sonorous brass alongside Grand Union’s own rich musical textures – including four fine singers from around the world, virtuosi Zhu Meng Xiao on gu zheng (Chinese harp), Baluji Shrivastav (sitar and dilruba) and Yousuf Ali Khan (tabla), and our full roster of internationally-renowned jazz soloists.
Add to that the ideal platform for such a journey – the Hackney Empire, with its own inimitable flavour of past imperial splendour, but now with a strong commitment to celebrating the richness and diversity of its local East London heritage – a theatre with which both GUO (as Associate Artists) and the BBC CO have a long-established special relationship.
Grand Union Orchestra performers:
Lucy Rahman (Bangladesh) – voice
Victoria Couper (Portugal/England) – voice
Stephen Douse (England) – voice, piano
Richard Scott (England) – voice, tenor saxophone
Baluji Shrivastav (India) – sitar, dilruba, tabla
Zhu Meng Xiao (China) – gu zheng (Chinese harp)
Yousuf Ali Khan (Bangladesh) – tabla, dholak, voice
Claude Deppa (South Africa) – trumpet, African drums
Shanti Paul Jayasinha (Sri Lanka/Scotland) – trumpet, flugelhorn
Chris Biscoe (England) – soprano & alto saxophones, alto clarinet
Tony Kofi (Ghana) – alto & baritone saxophones
Louise Elliott (Australia) – tenor saxophone, flute
Tony Haynes (England) – piano, trombone
Gerry Hunt (England) – guitar, soprano and baritone saxophones
Andres Lafone (Uruguay) – bass guitar
Dave Adams (England) – drums