Myths, Lies, and Truths: Romanticizing Traditional Cultures
Sunday, May 192:00 PM George Washington University Black Box Theatre
The repertoire of Guy Mendilow Ensemble’s The Forgotten Kingdom presents a fascinating case study for an all-too-common phenomenon: The “positive distortion” of traditional cultures to the point that culture bearers themselves cannot measure up to outsiders’ expectations.
This multimedia lecture—incorporating video excerpts from sand artist Kseniya Simonova—traces the distortion of Sephardic music from the former Ottoman Empire, exploring shifts in both their inadvertent and intentional forms. Narrative storytelling is interwoven with field recordings from Sephardic communities of the former Ottoman Empire, modern artists interpretations, and live performance from the Guy Mendilow Ensemble.
Guy Mendilow grew up in what seemed like a global game of hopscotch, choosing between three passports in homes in the Middle East, North, Central and South America and Africa. He began his professional stage career at age ten, touring internationally and domestically with the American Boychoir and annually singing some two hundred concerts in venues like Carnegie Hall, Boston Symphony Hall and Lincoln Center.
An artist-in-residence with leading performing arts organizations like Celebrity Series of Boston, Mendilow is a teaching artist at universities across the U.S. from Harvard to the University of Washington. His work has received multiple funding awards from the National Endowment for the Arts on the basis of artistic strength, cultural preservation and the strengthening of communities through the arts.