To us, looking back with our historical hindsight, it seems almost inevitable... But to those living through this transition of ages, the course must've been anything but a foregone conclusion, a too-terrible future that few would've dared dream. I wanted to explore what it was like to see the breakdown of empires, the glimmers of hope that then evaporate. What is it like to be caught on the wrong side, in that kind of nightmare?
In what ways are we also already straddling two worlds without even knowing it? If we, or my son's generation, are destined to know two very different eras, the wake up call won't come in the form of a storm of steel like in WWI. It'll come in a modern guise...
This week we feature an interview with Guy Mendilow and Rustin Burr on Public Pulse in Sheridan, WY both about The Forgotten Kingdom and, perhaps more importantly, about the stories of a courageous group of girls at the WY Girls School, a holistic, compassionate and restorative school for girls who've been in trouble with the law.
Here is a featured track together with a field recording from Tetuán, Morocco
If you’ve been following these posts, you know that there are many myths about Sephardic song. One is that Sephardic song is (at least disproportionately) “mystical,” or “haunting,” or even “epic.”
While there indeed are epic ballads, beautiful images and adventurous tales of kings, queens, murders, kidnap and treachery that would sit well in a cut-throat fantasy novel, there are many more sides to Sephardic songs and tales.
Some of the songs I like best give you a sense of the humour and spunk and living colour of the people who sing them. There’s a lot of fun there, and some of it can be downright bawdy too.
What would bring someone of the highest social class — a queen, a member of the one percent — to walk away from an entire kingdom, determining that justice lies in becoming an equal with the person that once was her slave?
About this track, the tension between traditional and modern interpretation, and a field recording from Silivria, Turkey.
How do you tell a story that comes from a very different age, a different time in our world, in a way that will capture the imagination today? Our world is so different from the world of the former Ottoman Empire, where many of the songs on our new album, The Forgotten Kingdom, arose. Traditional contexts for singing these songs — in the home, in community events — have all but vanished thanks to wars, immigration, and massive societal changes. So how do you bring songs from long ago and far away to a modern, savvy audience?
Here's a great conversation about The Forgotten Kingdom and the ways old stories play out today with award-winning columnist and entertainment writer Steve Wildsmith from The Daily Times in Maryville TN.
Watch a new video about the volunteer's experience in InWorlds, a first-of-its-kind direct interaction between a live actor and volunteer immersed in virtual reality, live for a theatre audience of several hundred.
The Boston Foundation recently awarded Guy Mendilow Ensemble a Live Arts Boston grant in support of Tales from the Forgotten Kingdom’s Animation Expansion
The Guy Mendilow Ensemble’s internationally-touring performance, Tales from the Forgotten Kingdomsparks fascination for Sephardic communities that were decimated in WWII through evocative storytelling and music. The semi-theatrical production recasts traditional Ladino songs and stories, sweeping up audiences in a new wartime tale of adventure, courage, loss and, ultimately, hope. With the support of the Boston Foundation’s Live Arts Boston(LAB), the Guy Mendilow Ensemble will commission an international animation team to add sand animation and digital shadow animation to deepen the production’s impact, strengthen the show’s continuity and broaden its audience reach by animating select segments and adding animated digital set-pieces behind the narration and music. Additional support includes funding from the National Endowment for the Arts’Art Works. To learn more about Forgotten Kingdom, go to guymendilowensemble.com/tales-from-the-forgotten-kingdom
Join us Sunday, March 12 for a free, vibrant family show!
Everyone becomes part of the music-making in the Guy Mendilow Ensemble's family concerts! Through colorful songs, stories and games, the Guy Mendilow Ensemble transports families on an exhilarating interactive adventure. In joyous songs from the band's homelands.
Onstage and off, the Celebrity Series Arts for All! community and education programs engage people of all ages and backgrounds in community programs that harness the creative energy of the performing arts to build thriving communities and cultivate the next generation of artists and audiences.
We are delighted, and grateful, to share that the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) has awarded New England States Touring funds to the Jewish Community Alliance of Southern Maine to bring the Guy Mendilow Ensemble to Portland, Maine for a performance and community engagement.
Check out two new videos from InWorlds, a new multimedia performance where theatre meets VR. Created by Secret Portal, a collective of artists, designers, musicians, coders, and tinkerers who are exploring new forms of social interaction through innovative virtual reality installations. Soundtrack by Guy Mendilow & Chris Baum
National Endowment for the Arts to Fund Guy Mendilow Ensemble's Tales from the Forgotten Kingdom Animation Expansion
Acton, MA —National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $30 million in grants as part of the NEA’s first major funding announcement for fiscal year 2017. Included in this announcement is an Art Works grant to Arts Are Essential, Inc for commissioning an animation expansion for the Guy Mendilow Ensemble’s Tales from the Forgotten Kingdom, whose riveting story and music inspire fascination with overlooked WWII history in the Mediterranean.
Read a concert review of Tales from the Forgotten Kingdom at the Rex Theatre in Thompson Falls, MT (by Justin Harris, Sanders County Ledger)
"...a full sound that would be perfectly suited for a movie soundtrack, both ethereal and solid, ranging from haunting to mournful to jovial.
...In the beginning of the evening, the audience seemed awestruck at the end of each song, as a tangible silence separated the song’s conclusion and the beginning of applause. By the end of the night, the enthusiastic crowd was clapping before the tune’s last notes had faded."
Guy Mendilow recently talked with Eric Alan from KLCC (Oregon NPR) about Tales from the Forgotten Kingdom and why the story and history of Sephardic communities actually tells us a lot about ourselves in the USA today.
The Guy Mendilow Ensemble is honoured to receive WESTAF TourWest grant support for its residencies with the Admiral Theatre (Bremerton, WA), Sunburst Arts (Eureka, MT), Mission Valley Live (Polson, MT), and Sanders County Arts Council (Thompson Falls, MT).
TourWest is a competitive grant program that provides subsidies to arts and community organizations for the presentation of out-of-state touring performers and literary artists. TourWest funding is received on the basis of artistic excellence, collaboration and block booking, presentation of programs to underserved and/or culturally diverse audiences, audience development, and community participation.