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about

{What the band says}
In the winter of 2006, we took over Skyland Farm, a 17th century Berkshire farmhouse. In a whirlwind operation, the group transformed the old carriage house into a live mic room, the living room into a control room with cables running through the kitchen, and recorded this album. With living quarters upstairs and studio below, we could work as we wanted, no matter the hour. Turns out winter is an interesting time to be in a 17th century Berkshire farmhouse. One day, an ice storm knocked out the power and nearly sent us packing. Skyland’s wood stoves were the only heat source, and between takes we were stacking and stoking wood in all the rooms. We were on a tight budget, making the best of limited resources, doing all the engineering ourselves and making some fairly interesting decisions to have it all work. It was certainly a quirky, DIY experience, and involved a good bit of fun and experimentation.

{What the publicist says}
The music on "Skyland" challenges the concept of borders - both national and musical. Drawing from a life lived in Israel, South Africa, Brazil and the United States, Guy Mendilow breaks down musical boundaries with an inventive blend of Israeli peace songs and Sephardi cantigas tempered with Bahian street beats and Blues. Performing in Hebrew, Arabic, Ladino, Portuguese and English, the band skillfully fuses tradition with a contemporary sound. Alongside lush vocal harmonies, woodwinds and strings, the five members of the Guy Mendilow Ensemble create intricate textures with berimbaus, percussion, trancy jaw harps, and Mendilow’s award-winning overtone singing.

“This is, to folk, what Bela Fleck is to Foggy Mountain Breakdown. This is unusual and exciting.”
— Philadelphia Folk Song Society

"Sala'am", an Israeli anthem used during the peace marches, subtly introduces Brazilian elements in its arrangement and whose warm harmonies nod to Crosby, Stills & Nash. The Sephardi song "Durme Durme", is in a tastefully modern setting and sung in that melting pot language of Spanish, Arabic and Greek, created from the wanderings of the Jews from Spain to the Mediterranean and Middle East. The group pushes the sonic envelope by taking ancient instruments in new directions -- whimsically, with a refusal to take itself too seriously. On "Whistler's Brother", Mendilow's award-winning overtone singing playfully duels with a flute. "Blues for Dino" -- a tongue-in-cheek slide berimbau (musical bow and arrow) blues number - is a tip of the hat to Brazilian berimbau hero Dino Nascimento.

A citizen of Israel, Great Britain and the United States, Guy Mendilow's musical mission is to explore the connection between places he's called home. Mendilow spent his formative years playing hopscotch between continents when his musician-turned-professor father was invited to a succession of teaching posts. From early childhood, most aspects of Mendilow's life were a cultural, linguistic and musical mix. Mendilow grew up participating in late night song circles and living room concerts with local musicians in his different homes, whether in Jerusalem or Johannesburg and whether the songs were Israeli, South African, English or American. Mendilow sings in six tongues and is fluent in four.

Out in the world, Mendilow 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 churches in Johannesburg," Mendilow recalls about the sparks of this passion. "We were sitting in my elementary school gym after-hours, a large gathering. The services were almost entirely singing: blacks and whites together, in beautiful harmonies. It lit something strong in me."

It's not surprising that the Guy Mendilow Ensemble includes world class musicians from Israel, Argentina, Japan and the United States -- nor to find the group now 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.

“Guy Mendilow is quickly developing a reputation as a masterful, deeply passionate and sincere performer.” — Global Rhythm Magazine

To Guy Mendilow the music cannot be separated from the message, whether you are part of the audience at Bethlehem Musikfest, 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 at age 10.

The Guy Mendilow Ensemble's message is coming through loud and clear. Mendilow’s innovative workshops, residencies and teacher trainings, focusing on improvisation as a tool for communication, have led to ongoing collaborations with cutting-edge international social justice organizations like Seeds of Peace and to invitations to present at schools and conferences across the United States and Brazil.

Blurring boundaries and connecting sounds, syncopations, rhythms and roots is central to the mission inspiring the Guy Mendilow Ensemble's latest CD, "Skyland." Drawing from his life lived in Israel, South Africa and Brazil (and now, the United States) where musical collaboration cuts through ancient conflict, Guy Mendilow is sowing the seeds of peace with music -- by creating person to person connections, one song at a time.

credits

released September 8, 2009

Personnel:

Andy Bergman: clarinet, sax, jaw harp, electric mbira, bamboo flute, guiro
Daniel Gale: violin, cajun accordion, guitar, triangle
Gregor Harvey: vocals, classical Guitar, octave mandolin, oud
Guy Mendilow: musical director; vocals, overtone singing, berimbau, guitar, percussion, shruti box
Marcelo Woloski: drums & percussion
Rajdulari: vocals on Depois Que O Ilê Passar
Rich Stein: drums & percussion
Shannon Lambert-Ryan: vocals

Recorded at Skyland Farm, Plainfield MA, 2006
And at The Hive, Cambridge MA, 2007

Produced by Guy Mendilow & Andy Bergman
Recorded by Andy Bergman
Editing by Andy Bergman, Guy Mendilow
Mixed by Jordan Tishler at the Digital Bear Entertainment studio, Boston MA
Mastered by Mark Donahue at Soundmirror, Inc., Boston MA
Artwork by Jovielle Gers (cover: On his next walk...) and Shari Mendler (the further misadventures of the hapless lion)

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about

Guy Mendilow Ensemble Boston, Massachusetts

"An international tour de force” (Bethlehem Morning Call) from Israel, Palestine, Argentina and the USA, the Guy Mendilow Ensemble combines world-class musicianship with cinematic storytelling in shows that “explode with artistry, refinement, and excitement” (Hebrew Union College), conjuring voices lost to war and upheaval, whisking audiences to distant times and picturesque places. ... more

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Track Name: Rain, Rain, Beautiful Rain
Oh rain oh rain beautiful rain.
Don’t disturb me, beautiful rain.
Oh come (never come) oh come to me beautiful rain.

Rain rain rain rain, beautiful rain.
Oh come (never come) come to me, beautiful rain.

When the suns says goodnight to the mountain
I am dreaming when the sun says goodnight.

Rain…
Track Name: Sala'am
(Sheva’s words:)
Peace will come to us.
Peace will come to us and to all.
Salaam! Peace be with us and all the world.
Salaam, salaam!

(Guy’s words:)
Peace may not come in my lifetime.
But it will in yours.
It may not come from governments.
So it will have to come from us.
A day will come….
Track Name: Durme, Durme
Durme, durme hermosa donzella
durme, durme sin ansia y dolor

Heq tu sclavo (que) tanto dezea
ver tu sueño con grande amor

Hay dos años que sufre mi alma
por ti, joya, mi linda dama

Siente, siente al son de mi guitarra
siente, hermosa, mis males cantar

Sleep now, beautiful maiden.
Sleep with neither anxiety nor pain.

I am your servant, wishing only to see you dream,
watching with great love.

For two years my soul has suffered
For you, my jewel, my beautiful lady

Listen, song of my guitar
Listen, my lady, to my sad song

Sleep now, beautiful maiden.
Sleep with neither anxiety nor pain.
Track Name: Depois Que O Ilê Passar
Rebentou Ilê Aiyê Curuzu
Passo de Angola Ijexá
Vamos pra cama meu bem
Me pegue agora
Me dê um beijo gostoso
Pode até me amassar
Mas me solte quando o Ilê passar

Quero ver você Ilê Aiyê
Passar por aqui

Não me pegue
Não me toque
Por favor não me provoque
Eu só quero ver o Ilê passar

Ilê Ayê Curuzú exploded
with a beat from Angola Ijexá.
Come to bed with me, my friend.

Take me now, give me a luscious kiss.
You can hold me, but let go when Ilê passes by.

I want to see you, Ilê Ayê, pass here.
Don't take hold of me, don't touch me
Please don’t provoke me
I only want to see Ilê pass by...
I want to see you, Ilê Ayê, pass here.
Track Name: La Serena
En la mar hay una torre,
en la torre una ventana.
En la ventana hay una niña
que a los marineros llama.

Dame la mano tu palomba
para suvir a tu nido.
Maldicha que durmes sola,
vengo a durmir con tigo.

Si la mar era de leche,
los barcitos de canela,
yo me mancharia entera
por salvar la mi bandiera.

Si la mar era de leche
Yo me haria un peshcador
Peshcaria las mis dolores
Con palavricas d'amor.

No me mates con cuchillo
Ni menos con revolver
Matame con tu amores
En tus brasos murere.

In the sea there is a tower,
In the tower there is a window,
In the window there is a girl
That calls to the sailors.

“Give me your hand, my dove,
so that I may climb to your nest.
Unfortunate are those that sleep alone.
I am coming to sleep with you.”

If the sea were made of milk
and the boats of cinnamon,
I would drown myself
to save your banner.

If the sea were made of milk,
I would be a fisherman.
I would fish for my suffering
With words of love.

You do not kill me with a knife
Nor with a pistol.
You kill me with your love,
I die in your arms
Track Name: Cuando Veo Hija Ermoza
Cuando veo hija ermoza me vo yo
Con las paras, sin las paras
si me dan, si no me dan
Yo la va tomar

When I see my beautiful lady I will go to her.
With or without money I will make her my own.