ROCKLAND — Sand artist Kseniya Simonova and Guy Mendilow Ensemble team up to present “The Forgotten Kingdom – Sand Stories” on Wednesday, Oct. 30, at 7:30 p.m., at the Strand Theatre.
In this U.S. premiere tour, Simonova creates, morphs and obliterates sand imagery in real-time, crafting a captivating and soulful narrative of Sephardi women’s stories lost to war, driven by the Ensemble’s evocative music and radio-theatre-style storytelling, according to the Strand, in a news release.
Over the course of the evening, audiences travel through breathtaking landscapes of sand. With English narration and orchestration, the show renders both heart-wrenching and humorous scenes of daily life in Mediterranean communities from World War I and the Ottoman Empire’s collapse all the way to World War II.
Referencing democratic hopes crushed by fascist regimes that cloaked entire communities in fear and oblivion, “The Forgotten Kingdom” links the past to the present, stirring powerful questions about struggles and dilemmas which people continue to grapple with today.
“These women's stories offer up perspectives that we deeply need right now,” said Guy Mendilow, in the release. “These stories offer a personal inkling of what it was like to live through the upheaval of those times – what happens to ordinary people, to families. These women’s voices have been historically excluded from the conversation, and it feels important to listen now.”
The winner of Ukraine’s Got Talent, and recently featured in America’s Got Talent: The Champions, Kseniya Simonova has performed in more than 70 countries. The tour marks her U.S. performing arts stage debut.
She developed her signature sand animation technique by sifting volcanic sand through her hands over a lightboard.
In “The Forgotten Kingdom,” Guy Mendilow Ensemble underscores the action with a broad musical palette. The emotionality of Western classical music is intensified by the bittersweet rawness of Tango, gorgeous vocal harmonies, and rhythmic fire of classical Arabic percussion.
"It is a great honor for me to perform with Guy Mendilow Ensemble in The Forgotten Kingdom,” said Kseniya Simonova. “This is my first big performance in America since America’s Got Talent: The Champions and it is a new experience for me to perform an evening-length piece. When I was creating the sand stories for this project, I was blown away by the beauty of the songs and I think the way they come to life is powerfully moving, wherever you come from and whether or not you already know these cultural communities and what they faced.”
Tickets for the performance are $20/Advance, $25/Day of Show.
Lobby and Balcony Bars will be open for age 21 and older.
Kseniya Simonova is a sand artist, and winner of Ukraine’s Got Talent. She creates beautiful and touching stories with her sand animation, alongside her work as a graphic artist, illustrator, and film director.
Simonova has performed her sand animation shows all over the world in more than 70 countries. She has been invited to show her art before Royalty and Presidents, among them the Royal Family of Thailand, Queen of Denmark, Princess of Denmark, Royal Family of Morocco, Royal Family of Bhutan, members of the Royal Family of Great Britain, Royal Family of Bahrain, and also Presidents of Malta, Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkey and many others.
The most respected stages of the world have embraced her art — from the Special Olympic Games closing ceremony in Athens to the Symphony Orchestra Gala at the Sydney Opera house, according to the news release.
Her beautiful sand animation became a staging act for Ukraine on Eurovision Song Contest, helping Ukrainian singer Mika Newton achieve 4th place in the Grand Final.
GUY MENDILOW ENSEMBLE
Folding radio drama-style stories into a top flight world music concert, the Guy Mendilow Ensemble is "an international tour de force” (Bethlehem Morning Call) from the Middle East, South and North America. GME combines musicianship with cinematic storytelling, transporting audiences to distant times and picturesque places, conjuring voices lost to upheaval, to spark personal connections with stories of ordinary people living through extraordinary moments of change.
To bring audiences into these moments, the Ensemble draws on traditional tunes, techniques, and tales in elegant arrangements and radical reframing. The Ensemble (whose core artists include Guy Mendilow, Sofia Tosello, Tareq Rantisi, Andy Bergman, and Chris Baum) is honored to be the recipient of multiple funding awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Boston Foundation, the New England Foundation for the Arts, and Western Arts Alliance on the basis of its artistry, cultural preservation, and the strengthening of communities through the arts.
Distinguished educators, the Ensemble specializes in residency work and community engagement. The Ensemble is an artist-in-residence with Celebrity Series of Boston's Arts for All since 2014 and designs custom residencies for performing arts organizations across North America.
Members of the Guy Mendilow Ensemble are on the faculties of music schools such as the Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music in India and tour/record with the likes of Bobby McFerrin, Yo-Yo Ma, Snarky Puppy, the Assad Brothers, Christian McBride, the Video Game Orchestra, Amanda Palmer and Simon Shaheen. Formed in 2004, the Ensemble is based in Boston, MA and New York City, NY.
Kseniya Simonova website: http://simonova.tv
Guy Mendilow/The Forgotten Kingdom website: www.guymendilowensemble.com/tfk-produ