Temple Ahavat Achim is presenting a concert on Saturday evening that it hopes will appeal to all residents, with the multicultural Guy Mendilow Ensemble blending the boundaries of ancient songs into the modern world.
This group's latest offering is titled "Tales from the Forgotten Kingdom: Ladino Songs Renewed," and features centuries-old music from Jewish communities in places such as Smyrna, Salonica, Jerusalem and Sarajevo, recast through the lens of modern human migrations.
"The Guy Mendilow Ensemble is delighted to return to the Gloucester community to help inaugurate this beautiful concert space. We're preparing a few new pieces especially for the occasion," said Guy Mendilow, a composer and performer. "The warm reception we've received in the community each time we've been makes us feel great, and we're excited to bring 'Tales from the Forgotten Kingdom' to the area."
The colorful songs will be sung in Ladino, a language melding Spanish, Arabic, Greek and Hebrew.
David Wesson, director of learning and programming at the temple, said the temple is eager to present this ensemble to the community at large as its first major concert in the new temple and also to celebrate Israeli Independence Day — Yom Ha'atzmaut.
"This is not a religious concert and we want to encourage the public to attend," said Wesson. "This is not specifically a Jewish event. It's an Israeli based artist but it is world music. The ensemble was voted best world music band in Boston in 2011 by The Phoenix."
The Guy Mendilow Ensemble's mission is to make the under-explored world of Ladino music accessible to music fans of all backgrounds as it seeks to make its music come alive with adventure and humor and grit, and the performance is different than the traditional perspective on Israel.
"This is a unique look at an aspect of the Sephardic background of Israeli culture that many Americans don't really know about," said Wesson. "We are also serving traditional Sephardic food as well celebrating the diversity of Israel."
Gail McCarthy can be reached at 978-238-7000, x3451, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you go
What: The Guy Mendilow Ensemble performs "Tales from the Forgotten Kingdom: Ladino Songs Renewed"
When: Saturday, 8 p.m.
Where: Temple Ahavat Achim at 86 Middle St. in Gloucester. Tickets are $15 and available at the door, or in advance at www.guymendilow.com and www.taagloucester.org.