Guy Mendilow Band
(Released September 2009 on Earthen Groove Records)
$15.00 (plus shipping)
"Skyland, named after the farm [in which the album was recorded], has to be one of the most ear-opening albums of the year. During the 1960s, Kaleidoscope featuring David Lindley stretched the boundaries of world music within a rock band about as far as they could be stretched, walking away with a reputation as heroes for sonic adventurers. The Guy Mendilow [Band] may not be quite as rambunctious,
but they are no less daring."
-Boomer's Guide to Music & News
"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. "
-Chris Spector, Midwest Record
"It's a folk music of hope and affirmation, sophisticated in its delivery but easily accessible to listeners anywhere. " - Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune
In the autumn and winter of 2006, the Guy Mendilow Band briefly took over Skyland Farm, a 17th century Berkshire farmhouse situated on 1500 acres of wildlife trust. In a whirlwind operation, the group transformed the old carriage house into a live mic room and the living room into a control room with cables running through the kitchen. Between ice storms that nearly sent them packing, and heated only by Skyland's woodstoves, stoked between takes, the band recorded this album...
About the group's unconventional use of the berimbau:
The bass drum sound on Experiment, Sala'am, Ishmael, Awendeje, Express, Whistler's Brother, and Le Mélange de Ouaouaron is the gourd of the berimbau thumping against Guy's chest.
1. Rain, Rain, Beautiful Rain (Joseph Shabalala, Arr. G. Mendilow)
This is a song about waiting for rain, metaphorically and literally, in places that need it. Guy learned the song from Ladysmith Black Mambazo in a song-swap between their group and the American Boychoir, with whom Guy was singing. Having lived in South Africa during the height of Apartheid, singing this song with Ladysmith was an especially moving experience.
2. Sala'am (M. Ben Ari/G. Mendilow) In 2005, the Consul General of Israel to New England invited us to perform several concerts with the aim of helping the Jewish community reach out and connect with families from different backgrounds. This was one of the songs Guy prepared for the occasion. Sheva's Salaam had been an anthem of the peace movement in Israel, and Guy added new music and words.
3. Whistler's Brother (G. Mendilow)
People told us that the overtone singing sounds like a flute. So we decided to play a game in which we paired the overtone singing with Andy's bamboo flute.Sala'am (M. Ben Ari/G. Mendilow)
4. Durme Durme (Trad. Ladino, Arr. G. Mendilow)
5. Cuando Veo Hija Ermoza (Trad. Ladino, Arr. Z. Dzagnidze/Assemblea Mediterranea and G. Mendilow)
6. Awendeje (G. Mendilow)
Featuring berimbau, electric mbira and overtone singing, alongside vocals and zills.
7. Express (A. Bergman)
Featuring a traditional Chinese brass jaw harp which produces up to 4 simultaneous notes.
8. Depois Que O Ilê Passar
(M. Souza de Jesus, Arr. V. Rodriguez/G. Mendilow)
Rajdulari is a dear friend who at one point served as the group's full-time vocalist. Her mother had survived bone cancer and, during hospital treatments, Rajdulari would sing to her. This was one of her mother's favorites, and when she taught it to us it became one of our favorites as well. It seemed appropriate to invite Rajdulari to sing it with us again here.
9. Ishmael (G. Mendilow)
A song for peace about two brothers who we hope will one day learn to recognize each other as human again. The seed of this song was taught to Guy by an elder Sufi gentleman in Anne Arbor, MI. We sing it in the Turkish dialect of Arabic in which he sang it. It's inspired by Seeds of Peace, a peacemaking organization working with Palestinian and Israeli youth and adult educators, with whom Guy has been collaborating since 2006.
10. Experiment (G. Mendilow)
Featuring overtone singing, berimbau and jaw harp
11. Le Mélange de Ouaouaron (D. Gale)
We had a great time when Daniel's world of Cajun music jumped into our world. The resulting hybrid offspring has the berimbau playing the role of the drum kit and the jaw harps holding down the bassline. The Cajun French song title translates as "The Bullfrog Medley" (or, perhaps more appropriately, "The Mixup of the Frogs")
12. La Serena (Trad. Ladino, Arr. G. Mendilow)
13. Blues For Dino (Berimbau Blues) (G. Mendilow)
A slide berimbau blues for Dino Nascimento.
14. Amazing Grace (Trad. Arr. G. Mendilow)
For T. J. Mendilow, a childhood friend who passed away February 25 2006.
Produced by Guy Mendilow & Andy Bergman
Cover artwork (On His Next Walk...) by Jovielle Gers.
Additional artwork (The Further Misadventures of the Hapless Lion) by Shari Mendler.