Screening of the Award-Winning Film “Babylon: Ghetto, Renaissance, and Modern Oblivion”

May 06, 2023 596

BY: Michael Leavitt

Screening  of the Award-Winning Film “Babylon: Ghetto, Renaissance, and Modern Oblivion”. At the Center for Jewish History (15 West 16th Street, New York, NY) - Wednesday, May 17xth at 7:30 PM. (Free, by Registration) 

Co-sponsored by the American Society for Jewish Music’s Jewish Music Forum, YIVO, the American Sephardi Federation, and Salon/Sanctuary Concerts, the award-winning film “Babylon: Ghetto, Renaissance, and Modern Oblivion” considers the resonance of Psalm 137 (By the Waters of Babylon) through the music of two ghettoized peoples – Italian Jews of Mantua during the period of the Counter-Reformation, and African Americans before, during, and after the Harlem Renaissance.

A 29-minute voyage through four centuries, Babylon confronts vital questions about minority musicians and their foundational roles in the music we enjoy today. Who was celebrated? Who was erased? Who was invited to the party and who was left out in the cold? Whose genius was attributed to someone else? Who contributed the most while remaining on the sidelines of history? And most importantly, why does it keep happening?

Attendance at the screening on May 17th is Free by Registration. The registration link is:

Written and directed by Jessica Gould, Salon/Sanctuary Concert’s Artistic Airector, “Babylon….” Stars Ezra Knight (The Tender Bar, Billions, Law & Order) narrates a script that interweaves works by Italian-Jewish composer Salomone Rossi (1570 – 1630) and contemporary American Brandon Waddles (1988 –). Additional Rossi works include performances by the Bacchus Consort, Voices of Music, and soprano Jessica Gould in collaboration with lutenist Lucas Harris.

Also featuring the groundbreaking Kaleidoscope Vocal Ensemble, other musical selections include historical recordings by Ma Rainey, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Big Mama Thornton, The Fisk Jubilee Singers, as well as two luminaries in contemporary West African music – Kevin Nathaniel Hylton and Yacouba Sissoko.

Since its December 2020 premiere, Babylon has garnered over 90 laurels from film festivals across the globe in multiple categories.

Babylon Writer and Director Jessica Gould enjoys a multifaceted career as writer, soprano, artistic director, Italian translator, and filmmaker. Her dizzying laurels list for Babylon include the Violetta d’Oro Prize from the Parma International Music Film Festival for Best Soundtrack and Best Foreign Film from the Asti Film Festival. Her writing has been awarded Best Original Script from the London International Monthly Film Festival, and she has been named Best First Time Director by the Silk Road Festival Cannes, 1st Monthly Film Festival Belgrade, and Dreamer's Film Festival Bucharest.

Other awards, including prizes for Best History Film, Best Sound Design, Best Cinematography, Best Short Documentary, Best Social Justice Film and Best Black Lives Matter Film, have been awarded across the globe, from film festivals in Atlanta, Belgrade, Epirus, Istanbul, La Jolla, Los Angeles, Milan, Mykonos, Naples, New York, Palermo, Paris, Rome, Tokyo, and Toronto, among others.

A protean musician with repertoire spanning from the Renaissance to the present day, Ms. Gould’s current projects as soprano soloist include a recording of Stradella in Italy and upcoming performances of Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder in the United States. She is founder and artistic director of Salon/Sanctuary Concerts, based in New York City, and a voting member of the Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

Click here to Watch Trailer


SOURCE: American Society for Jewish Music

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