The Pagoda Arts Centre is an important part of the city’s fabric: a volunteer-run space that’s a one-stop shop for the Chinese community here: translation services, dance classes, Tai Chi, councillor and benefits surgeries. But, most notably, it’s also home to the Pagoda Chinese Orchestra and Youth Orchestra: the first and largest Chinese Youth Orchestra in Europe. They’re amazing.
One year after the passing of legendary founder Mr. K.H.Li, the Youth Orchestra are set to hook up once more with post-punk trailblazer Jah Wobble again for a pretty-damn-special evening. It’ll see them mashing things up with Wobble on their very own ‘Flower Fusion’ (a hypnotic concoction of grime and Chinese folk), as well giving us another chance to watch a reprise of their thrilling ‘Chinese Dub’ commission, which first brought Wobble and the orchestra together in Capital of Culture year.
Needless to say, the Pagoda Centre’s not been left out of the government’s cuts, so events like this ensure the centre – a vital part of the city’s ecosystem and musical history – gets a much-needed boost. If you needed any more convincing about going, have a look at the documentary below: a history of the Orchestra, and Mr Li’s enduring legacy.