Babylon considers the text of Psalm 137 (By the Waters of Babylon) as it has resonated 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.
Narrated by the titanic voice of actor Ezra Knight, the musical performances of works by Italian-Jewish composer Salamone Rossi (1570 – 1630) and contemporary American Brandon Waddles (1988 –) are by the groundbreaking Kaleidoscope Vocal Ensemble. Other musical selections are historical recordings by such luminaries as Ma Rainey, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Big Mama Thornton, The Fisk Jubilee Singers, and others, as well as two luminaries in contemporary West African music, Kevin Nathaniel Hylton and Yacouba Sissoko.
Since its December 2020 première, Babylon has garnered over 40 awards from film festivals across the globe in multiple catergories.
Babylon is an original project of Salon/Sanctuary Concerts and made possible by the generous support of NYU Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò.