Jon Brooks, with Fred Gillen, Jr.
- Common Ground Coffeehouse at the First Unitarian Society of Westchester, Hastings-on-Hudson NY
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AT SOUTH PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
Common Ground @ South Church
Blurring boundaries and connecting sounds, stories, rhythms and roots is central to the mission inspiring the Guy Mendilow Band. The vibrant multicultural group’s latest offering, The Ladino Project, features centuries-old music from Jewish communities in places such as Smyrna, Salonica, Jerusalem and Sarajevo. Sung in Ladino, a language melding Spanish, Arabic, Greek, and Hebrew, these colorful canticas and romanzas abound with stories of sailors seduced by sirens at sea, intrigue, fantastic dreams and the treachery of kings and queens.
Led by Israeli performer Guy Mendilow, the quintet makes this ancient music relevant to today’s audiences by recasting it through the lens of modern migrations. Drawn from the places Mendilow and his musicians have called home, from Israel and Brazil to Japan and the United States, the resulting music is a blend of haunting Sephardi, driven with Brazilian street beats and tempered with blues. It is vibrant musical storytelling awash with warm vocal harmonies, intricate textures and spellbinding rhythms.
Opening the evening will be the trio of Robin Anne Joseph, Adam Hart, and Matt Turk, followed by The Temple Beth Shalom Choir from Hastings-in-Hudson, NY. The Temple Beth Shalom Choir, directed by Linda Moot, is committed to bringing the rich cultural heritage of Jewish music to the Rivertowns community. In addition to Jewish High Holiday Services and occasional Friday services, the choir has presented twelve yearly concert programs, including A Klayner Yiddisher Liderabend: An Evening of Yiddish Song; Treasures of Babylon: Music of the Jews of Iraq; Shir d’Italia; Music from the Italian Jewish Heritage and Let Freedom Sing! From Sinai to Selma. Opening for the Guy Mendelow Band’s Ladino Project, the choir will sing Judeo-Spanish music from Sarajevo, Morocco, Turkey and Bulgaria.
Guitarist and mandolinist Matt Turk, who has recorded and performed alongside the likes of Pete Seeger, Micky Hart of the Grateful Dead and Ellis Marsalis, is a resident musician at Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in New York City. In 2003, he released an acclaimed collection of traditional songs from Israel, Yemen, Iraq, Morocco and the United States, under the name Mandolin Caravan. The songs are played with “a deep spiritual sense of the healing,” as one listener put it, while another likes the group’s “wonderful earthy, ethnic flavor—it’s like coming home: here are all of the beautiful sounds I grew up with, in one incredible, joyful blend.”
Robin Anne Joseph has performed and recorded her original music as one half of the duo B’shert and now solo, with the release of her recording “Ta’amod–Stand Up!” Winner of the American Zionist Movement’s First Annual Song Competition in 1994, Robin’s unique style of storytelling through song, MidraShir, has been acclaimed nationwide. Robin’s liturgical compositions have been sung in synagogues across the United States and her “Adonai Mah Adam,” “Yih’yu L’ratzon,” and “Hinei Anochi Sholeiach” have all been published through Transcontinental Music Publications. Ordained at the Academy for Jewish Religion, Robin is the cantor at Temple Beth Shalom .
Singer-songwriter Adam Hart combines roots rock music with liturgical texts to create his own flavor of Jewish roots rock. The compositions are intended to enhance one’s awareness of self, recognize the splendors of life, and help crystallize our living value structures.
Common Ground Community Concerts is a grassroots music production and event planning organization based in Westchester County NY. For the past 13 years, Common Ground has produced its flagship Common Ground Coffeehouse series, sponsored by (and hosted by) The First Unitarian Society of Westchester, in Hastings-on-Hudson NY.