Shalom Life | May 23, 2015

Swaying to Jewish Tradition

Front man Jeremiah Lockwood knows how to combine good music with his Jewish culture.

By: Christal Gardiola

Published: August 16th, 2010 in Culture » Music » Interviews

Swaying to Jewish Tradition

The Sway Machinery’s sound is a fusion of different genres: Afrobeat, blues, electric, folk and rock. The unique mix of music is a testament to the different backgrounds of its band members. The Sway Machinery consists of six members who hail from separate successful music acts. For example, drummer Brian Chase is a part of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs while bass saxophonist Colin Stetson is from Arcade Fire.

But the presence of Jewish cantorial music is one of the heaviest influences in the New York-based band’s sound. And that’s all thanks to front man Jeremiah Lockwood. Lockwood, who moonlights as a part of the Balkan Beat Box, is the only Jewish member in The Sway Machinery. The New York native’s musical talent is one that runs deep in his family. His father is composer Larry Lockwood, while his grandfather is legendary cantor Jacob Konigsberg.

This year, Lockwood and The Sway Machinery will be performing for the first time at one of the biggest gatherings of Jewish-Canadian music, the Ashkenaz Festival. “I've always been an admirer of what the Ashkenaz Festival is achieving as a major music festival bringing really quality acts together with Jewish culture as its organizing feature, but not trumping aesthetic concerns. I think it's one of the few Jewish festivals that can really claim that distinction,” Lockwood says. “It's a great honour to be playing at Ashkenaz.”

It wouldn’t be the first time Lockwood has taken the opportunity to incorporate his music into his Jewish culture. In 2007, The Sway Machinery premiered the song “Hidden Melodies Revealed” (also the title of their debut album), which was a single that celebrates Rosh HaShanah. The band has also performed and recorded songs in Hebrew.

Lockwood, who describes the band’s aesthetic as action-oriented, plans to continue staying true to his Jewish roots in exploring cantorial music tradition. In The Sway Machinery’s upcoming second album, The House of Friendly Ghosts, Vol. 1, Lockwood penned most of the songs. He promises it to be more “personal and self-probing,” featuring singles in English, Hebrew, Songai, Tamashek and Arabic.

The House of Friendly Ghosts, Vol. 1 is expected to be released in 2011. For more information, visit www.swaymachinery.com.

Israeli Makes Eurovision Finals for First Time in 5 Years Israeli Makes Eurovision Finals for First Time in 5 Years TrendingJewish Community Center Cancels Marijuana Art Classes Jewish Community Center Cancels Marijuana Art Classes TrendingWATCH: Lady Gaga Accepts ADL's Making a Difference Award WATCH: Lady Gaga Accepts ADL's Making a Difference Award Trending
 

Israeli Makes Eurovision Finals for First Time in 5 Years

May 22, 2015 | By Shaleni McBain
Israeli Makes Eurovision Finals for First Time in 5 Years

'Golden Boy' Nadav Guedj hopes to live up to his name

Read More

Israeli Companies Make Gartner's Innovative 'Cool Vendors' List

May 22, 2015 | By Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels
Israeli Companies Make Gartner's Innovative 'Cool Vendors' List

18 out of 350 companies selected by leading American IT research firm Gartner are from the Holy Land

Read More

Jewish Community Center Cancels Marijuana Art Classes

May 22, 2015 | By Shaleni McBain
Jewish Community Center Cancels Marijuana Art Classes

Class that welcomed cannabis usage at Aspen Community Center in Colorado quickly nixed

Read More

Israel in Top 10 Countries for Gay Men

May 22, 2015 | By Shaleni McBain
Israel in Top 10 Countries for Gay Men

Country ranks #7 on the happiness index

Read More

Canadian Holocaust Survivor Recognizes Himself in Online Photo

May 22, 2015 | By Daniel Koren
Canadian Holocaust Survivor Recognizes Himself in Online Photo

Yehuda Danzig of Toronto was stunned when he came across a pic of himself and his younger brother while reading The Times of Israel

Read More

Seven Ways to Celebrate a Meaningful Shavuot

May 22, 2015 | By Maayan Jaffe, JNS.org
Seven Ways to Celebrate a Meaningful Shavuot

Here are a few ways to infuse some meaning and minhag (tradition) into your Shavuot this year

Read More

WATCH: Israeli, Muslim Footballers Unite For "One World, One Ball"

May 22, 2015 | By Daniel Koren
WATCH: Israeli, Muslim Footballers Unite For "One World, One Ball"

"Play the ball, not the state," say soccer players of various ethnicities to FIFA in new video

Read More

Obama: Our Commitment to Israel is Unshakeable

May 22, 2015 | By Daniel Koren
Obama: Our Commitment to Israel is Unshakeable

The U.S. President also spoke of the need a two-state solution on the inaugural "Solidarity Sabbath" in D.C.

Read More

More Headlines