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Tales brought to life


Game of Tones: Guy Mendilow Ensemble revives the fantastic world of Ladino Song with Global Grace in Tales of the Forgotten Kingdom.

Community Fine Arts Center proudly presents Tales from the Forgotten Kingdom performed by Guy Mendilow Ensemble.

The performance takes place April 13 at 7 p.m. at the Broadway Theater located at 618 Broadway, in Rock Springs. Tickets are $12 and $10 seniors/students and available at the CFAC and at the door.  More info at and  

A queen who runs away with her slave, joining her fate to her beloved servant's. Brides who abandon their weddings and join a ship full of sailors. Men who go courting, only to get taunted or tossed down a well.

These wild rides and fantastic yarns spring from Ladino tradition, from songs and stories carried by Sephardic Jews as they moved from Spain and settled along the Mediterranean's northern coast to Greece and Turkey. In multicultural metropolises like Sarajevo, in picturesque island towns like Rhodes, Jewish culture-bearers recounted the romantic escapades and derring-do of a cast of characters worthy of a cutthroat fantasy novel.

Multi-instrumentalist, singer and skilled arranger Guy Mendilow and his four musical collaborators leap into this world in Tales from the Forgotten Kingdom.

The intertwining music and storytelling conjure an imagination lost to war and upheaval, recorded in a language that blends archaic Spanish with Arabic, Hebrew and Greek. By digging deep into Sephardic scholarship and revitalizing the sound recorded on gritty field recordings, Mendilow and company bring tales to life, intertwining voices, percussion, and soulful playing to render these songs in all their color, drama and heart.

"If you like Game of Thrones, these stories are for you," Mendilow said.

"The tales are amazing. The melodies twist and turn, like the culture of adaptation Sephardic musicians embraced. Much of it is modal music, with elements that run from epic tunes to early 20th-century foxtrots and tangos, and all of it is mesmerizing, in its beauty and intensity."

Audiences in the Rock Springs area will get to savor this intensity at the Broadway Theater April 13 as the ensemble tours the West Coast and Pacific Northwest in a series of concerts, residencies, and community performances.

Mendilow grew up in Jerusalem, hearing various renditions of Ladino songs spinning from the family record player, or drifting mysteriously from open windows, as elder women went about their housekeeping. It felt too slick or too rough, and left only a faint impression on the young musician.

"The songs were cryptic, the language was mysterious, opaque," he recalls.


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