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.
Ezra Knight narrates a script that interweaves works by Italian-Jewish composer Salamone Rossi (1570 – 1630) and contemporary American Brandon Waddles (1988 –). 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.
Additional Rossi works include performances by the Bacchus Consort, Voices of Music, and soprano Jessica Gould in collaboration with lutenist Lucas Harris.
Since its December 2020 première, Babylon has garnered over 80 laurels from film festivals across the globe in multiple categories.
Babylon is an original project of Salon/Sanctuary Concerts and made possible by the generous support of NYU Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò.