Sunday, September 23, 2007

Hidden Melodies Revealed: The Sway Machine

Sway Machine: Hidden Melodies RevealedI don't usually post about specific events, mainly because there are too many of them. But here's one that I think is important. On September 12, The Sway Machine hit New York with show that I wish I could have seen: Hidden Melodies Revealed. Here's an excerpt from The Sway Machine's website. Read the whole thing here.
"The Sway Machine is currently at work on a project that seeks to reclaim the deep roots of Ashkenazic Jewish spiritual music. It is my belief that in the work of the master Chazzans of the Golden Age of Cantorial music there is a model for creative work that can be usefully employed today. In the Cantor’s balance of artistic authority and spiritual humility I [Joshua Lockwood] see a perfect stance from which to speak to the emotional needs of the contemporary world. Together with Tomer Tzur, Colin Stetson, Stuart Bogie and Jordan McLean, I am revisiting the work of my heroes of Chazzanus, particularly the music of my grandfather, the legendary Cantor Jacob Konigsberg. In this way I am hoping to return to that place of childlike awe that he opened to me and share it with the world."
I'm really interested in this because of deep connection to the cantorial tradition, a Jewish music tradition that doesn't seem to get much attention these days. The liberal Jewish communities (Reform, Conservative, Jewish Renewal, Reconstructionist), and many traditional communities seem to have been moving away from cantorial performer-on-the-pulpit services in favor of participant driven services (whether group singing in liberal communities and rotating davening leadership in traditional communities. As much as I'm a fan of both of these movements I've always loved participating in a service with a good cantor. The power the voice and the very specific musical forms (nusach) used have always inspired me. Sway Machine has always leaned toward cantorial music and I'm glad to see them continue that exploration.

Other than the video below, I haven't heard any of the Hidden Melodies music. I'm a big fan of The Sway Machine and have their EP. Great Stuff. There's a rumor floating around that the event was recorded and that DVD will be available. I tried to order it but couldn't get the Paypal site to work. I'll keep trying. If you're interested check out the Sway Machinery website for more info and contact info.

Sway Machinery Hidden Melodies Revealed 1

No comments: