Thursday, August 19, 2010

Darkcho. A muttered lonely prayer.

It's 10pm and I'm alone at my office. I've got a new CD spinning and I'm completely lost in it. A voice is singing Chassidic niggunim and prayers in a muttered, intimate, lilt. The voice is far away and unaware, as if I'm standing outside of a small house listening to a man singing to himself. For accompaniment a simple strummed guitar and muted horns fade in and out.

I feel a bit lost, and yet found at the same time. The distance of the album draws me in and I want to knock on the door, come in and sit. Maybe later I'll sing too, but now I just want to listen and shake off a bit of the night.

The album that's conjuring this dream is Darkcho. I know almost nothing about it. Shemspeed attributes it to "D. Brook and J. Harkham" and will be releasing it in September. The SF Bay Jewish Weekly wrote about it back in 2004. There's a Darkcho twitter page that says that they come from Australia.

That's it.

The Shemspeed press kit has lots to say, but no more real details. First listen and then read.

<a href="">Mah Lecho by Shemspeed</a>

Darkcho is an album of mystical Hasidic music, that sounds more like an indie folk rock album with tradition than what you would expect of a religious album. The music is very real, very meditative and very very human. A physical copy of this record is hard to find. As we look at the art we see how mysterious it all is. Hand written lyrics and notes cover the panels, but there is no label, there is no website, there is no way of finding out any more information and to top it all off, when you flip the cover over you read these fascinating words:

“These songs collected here belong to the Jewish people. They originate from holiness. They speak of self nullification and redemption, the need for healing and discovering the depths of the Holy One Blessed Be He in this world and the next.

We take no recognition for any part of the material, lest the actual performing of the music itself.

The R recognition was meant for the Holy One Blessed Be He and to the nation that lives by His word.”

Shemspeed has taken on this beautiful record in order to ensure that the world hears it, aged in the barrels of Eastern European folklore and steeped in centuries of Jewish musical tradition. The album plays like a Tarantino soundtrack to the deepest, most spiritual moments of life; full of depth and style, antiquity and freshness.


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