Friday, July 23, 2010

Weekend Beats

Looking for something fun to do this weekend? We promised to pass this on:

Border Busting World Music Highlights International Day Festival on July 24th with the Guy Mendilow Band

The Guy Mendilow Band delivers its dynamic blend of Israeli and Sephardi tempered with Brazilian street beats and blues at Columbia’s International Day Festival at the Town Center Lakefront in Columbia, MD. The free festival runs from 12pm-10pm on July 24th and features live music, international food, crafts and children's activities. More information can be found at and

Blurring boundaries and connecting sounds, stories, rhythms and roots is central to the mission inspiring the Guy Mendilow Band.  Israeli peace songs and ancient Sephardi canticas meet Bahian street beats and blues. Drawing from a life lived in Israel, South Africa and Brazil, where musical collaboration cuts through ancient conflict, Israeli born musician Guy Mendilow is sowing the seeds of peace with music.

“The buoyant, life-affirming, sweetly acoustic music of Israeli-born Mendilow incorporates influences from across the Middle East, South America and beyond. It's a folk music of hope and affirmation, sophisticated in its delivery but easily accessible to listeners anywhere. ” Chicago Tribune
It’s no surprise, then, that the Guy Mendilow Band includes world class musicians from Israel, Argentina, Japan and the United States. Or to find the group partnering with international peacemaking organizations, such as Seeds of Peace, whose work with Palestinian and Israeli youth and adult educators helps forge the personal relationships so critical to communication and reconciliation.

The Guy Mendilow Band challenges your concept of borders as you listen to Sala’am, an Israeli anthem used during the peace marches, that subtly introduces Brazilian elements in its arrangement and whose warm harmonies nod to Crosby, Stills & Nash. Or take the tastefully modern setting of the ancient Sephardi song Durme Durme, sung in that melting pot language of Spanish, Arabic, Greek, and Hebrew, created from the wanderings of the ancient Jews from Spain to the Mediterranean and Middle East. Mendilow pushes the sonic envelope by taking ancient instruments in new directions, though the band does this whimsically, with an almost adamant refusal to take itself too seriously. For instance, in Whistler’s Brother, Mendilow’s award-winning overtone singing playfully duels with a flute. Or Blues for Dino, a tongue-in-cheek slide berimbau (musical bow and arrow) blues number — a tip of the hat to Brazilian berimbau hero Dino Nascimento. The band’s fusion stems from a life-long cultural mix infusing most aspects of Mendilow’s life.

“This isn’t for quirky ears, it’s for jaded ears that need to be shaken awake with something substantially different that keeps the interest on the beam throughout. Delightfully different, even when it seems like it might be familiar. ” —Midwest Record

On a personal level, Guy’s musical mission is to explore the connection between places he’s called home. Out in the world, he has oriented his band around the premise that music, and music making, can play a unique role in the effort to transform “the other” into a fellow human being to whom one can at least listen, if not necessarily agree.

 “It was the height of Apartheid and my family, though secular and Israeli, was invited to participate in one of the only integrated church services in Johannesburg,” Mendilow recalls about the sparks of this passion. “We were sitting in my elementary school gym after-hours, a large gathering.  The service was almost entirely singing: blacks and whites together, in beautiful harmonies. It lit something strong in me.”  Throughout his childhood, Mendilow and his family played continental hop-scotch, with community singing in the living room as an important way of connecting with others.
To Guy Mendilow the music cannot be separated from the message, whether you are part of the audience at the Chicago World Music Festival, New York’s Tribeca Performing Arts Center, in a master workshop with government education ministers from Palestine, Israel, Jordan or Lebanon, or swapping songs between Ladysmith Black Mambazo and the 26 diverse young people in the American Boychoir — Mendilow’s first touring experience. The Guy Mendilow Band continues to blur musical boundaries and offers its modest contributions to today’s larger peace puzzle: by creating person to person connections, one song at a time.  

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