A Backstage Tour of The Forgotten Kingdom (Part 7): Blinded by Hindsight: Exploring the Past’s Forgotten Kingdom and Ladino Songs to See More Deeply What We Face Today

To us, looking back with our historical hindsight, it seems almost inevitable... But to those living through this transition of ages, the course must've been anything but a foregone conclusion, a too-terrible future that few would've dared dream. I wanted to explore what it was like to see the breakdown of empires, the glimmers of hope that then evaporate. What is it like to be caught on the wrong side, in that kind of nightmare?

In what ways are we also already straddling two worlds without even knowing it? If we, or my son's generation, are destined to know two very different eras, the wake up call won't come in the form of a storm of steel like in WWI. It'll come in a modern guise...

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A Backstage Tour of The Forgotten Kingdom (Part 6): When Stories Collide

This week we feature an interview with Guy Mendilow and Rustin Burr on Public Pulse in Sheridan, WY both about The Forgotten Kingdom and, perhaps more importantly, about the stories of a courageous group of girls at the WY Girls School, a holistic, compassionate and restorative school for girls who've been in trouble with the law. 

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A Backstage Tour of The Forgotten Kingdom (Part 4): The Meeting at the Well

Here is a featured track together with a field recording from Tetuán, Morocco

If you’ve been following these posts, you know that there are many myths about Sephardic song. One is that Sephardic song is (at least disproportionately) “mystical,” or “haunting,” or even “epic.”

While there indeed are epic ballads, beautiful images and adventurous tales of kings, queens, murders, kidnap and treachery that would sit well in a cut-throat fantasy novel, there are many more sides to Sephardic songs and tales.

Some of the songs I like best give you a sense of the humour and spunk and living colour of the people who sing them. There’s a lot of fun there, and some of it can be downright bawdy too.

Listen to this example.

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A Backstage Tour of The Forgotten Kingdom (part 3): Overtone Singing, Berimbau and Ladino?!

Featured Track: Mancevo Del Dor (A Modern Man)

Did you know that Sephardic singers were among the best overtone singers in the Ottoman Empire, and that they were early adopters of the musical bow?

That’s good. Because that statement is 100% false and preposterous! 

But, alternative facts aside, we think they are good choices for this song anyway. Click the post to read why.

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A Backstage Tour of The Forgotten Kingdom (part 2): Myths, Distortions, and Questions that Burn Today

Track Feature: Hermanas Reina Y Cautiva (Sisters, Queen & Captive)

What would bring someone of the highest social class —  a queen, a member of the one percent —  to walk away from an entire kingdom, determining that justice lies in becoming an equal with the person that once was her slave? 

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A Backstage Tour of The Forgotten Kingdom (part 1): The Mountain Ahead Burns

Track feature: Esta Montana D’Enfrente (The Mountain Ahead Burns)

About this track, the tension between traditional and modern interpretation, and a field recording from Silivria, Turkey.

How do you tell a story that comes from a very different age, a different time in our world, in a way that will capture the imagination today? Our world is so different from the world of the former Ottoman Empire, where many of the songs on our new album, The Forgotten Kingdom, arose. Traditional contexts for singing these songs — in the home, in community events — have all but vanished thanks to wars, immigration, and massive societal changes. So how do you bring songs from long ago and far away to a modern, savvy audience?

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