The nigun, a wordless spiritual folk melody, is one of the great achievements of Jewish aesthetic expression. I grew up hearing nigunim at the family table on the Sabbath and holidays with my grandfather and my cousins. We sang a continuous stream of melodies, one flowing into the next, for what felt like hours. As I started developing as a musician, I would often think about those experiences and marvel at their natural flow of feeling and energy. These group sessions brought me a pleasure in music making that, as a professional musician, took me many years to revisit.
In this installment of The Nigun Project, Forward artist-in-residence Jeremiah Lockwood performs with drummer Amir Ziv and trumpeter Jordan McLean of the musical collective Droid.
In the latest installment of the Nigun Project, our artist-in-residence, Jeremiah Lockwood, performs a Modzitzer Hasidic melody, alongside Yula Be’eri, the leader of Yula and the Extended Family.
I met Khaira Arby in January at a rooftop party in Timbuktu, Mali, when my band, The Sway Machinery, was en route to perform at the legendary Festival in the Desert. Arby, known as the “Nightingale of the Desert,” is a mainstay of the festival and has been one of the most popular singers in Timbuktu for decades.
In the seventh installment of The Nigun Project, the Forward’s artist in residence, Jeremiah Lockwood, performs with Khaira Arby and her band, in town from Timbuktu, Mali.
In the sixth installment of the Nigun Project, Forward artist-in-residence Jeremiah Lockwood performs “Surely, There Will Be Vodka” — a nigun and a drinking song, all rolled into one — alongside Cynthia Hopkins of the band Gloria Deluxe.
In the fifth installment of The Nigun Project, The Sway Machinery’s Jermiah Lockwood collaborates with rappers Dan Wolf and Tommy Shepherd, of the hip-hop collective Felonious, on a melody inspired by a story about the Baal Shem Tov.