Copy link

Frank London: Ghetto Songs

29.06.2022 - 19:30 / Tempel Synagogue, ul. Miodowa 24 | Live:

Trumpeter and composer Frank London, known for his genre-bending, concept-driven work, presents his latest project: Ghetto Songs, music from and about the world’s ghettos.

At its heart, Ghetto Songs is a 21st-century song recital. Two astounding vocalists, each an acknowledged master of their art — Sveta Kundish – one of the first female cantors of Ukrainian background; Karim Sulayman, who won the 2019 Grammy Award for Best Vocal Performance will perform songs that span over 500 years in multiple languages and a dizzying range musical genres and styles.

Ghetto Songs was created to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the opening of the Venice ghetto in 1516; and the CD recording was released to coincide with the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising on April 19, the day the Nazis stormed the ghetto.

The repertoire on Ghetto Songs spans the globe, with a strong focus on Venice, home of the world’s first ghetto: the first place to be called a ‘ghetto’ is the square where Jews were forced to live in 16th-century Venice. The Jewish ghetto was put on the most unhealthy location – the polluted grounds of an ancient copper foundry (geto), which gave “ghettos” their name. Use of the word ‘ghetto’ spread, and by the early 20th century the term had been universally generalized to denote the crowded urban quarters of any minority group.

Ghettos are historically complex phenomena. They offer both freedom and restriction, protection and imperilment. By isolating specific groups from the outside world, they become cultural “petri dishes” — the ghettoized group’s culture thrives. Ghetto Songs celebrates the music and poetry that emerges from and about the world’s many ghettos.

The Ghetto Songs playlist includes 17th century music and poetry from the Venice ghetto (works from Solomone Rossi, Benedetto Marcello, and Sara Coppia Sulam), songs from the Krakow and Warsaw ghettos, a piyyut (Jewish liturgical poem) from Morocco’s mellah; kwela from South Africa’s townships, and WAR’s anthemic hit The World is a Ghetto.

Frank London (truumpet), kantorka Svetlana Kundish (vocal), Karim Sulayman (vocal), Brandon Ross (guitar), Ilya Shneyveys (accordion, organ, piano), Zeno de Rossi (drums), Martin Lilich (double bass), Francesca Ter-Berg (cello)

Tickets N: 100 / U: 70 PLN available at and at the entrance to the venue one hour before the concert.

Ghetto Songs- album
Ghetto Songs- concert

This project was originally commissioned by the Beit Venezia.