The Nigun Project

Jeremiah Lockwood (headphones) with Jordan McLean of DROID.Collectivity: Making glorious new nigunim with Cynthia Hopkins.

A Year of Revolutionary Nigunim

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.

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“The Nigun Project” by Jeremiah Lockwood is now available from Amazon.

Lockwood, left, with trumpeter Jordan McLean.

The Nigun Project: The Magid of Koznitz's Nigun

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 Works: Yula Be?eri and Jeremiah Lockwood collaborate on ?Through the Castle at Night.?

The Nigun Project: Through the Castle at Night

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.

Old Friends: Lockwood and Schechter perform ?Silent Song,? from the Lubavitch Sefer HaNigunim.

The Nigun Project: Silent Song

For this nigun, from the mid-century Lubavitch Sefer HaNigunim, Jeremiah Lockwood performs with Basya Schechter of “Pharaoh’s Daughter.”

?Nightingale of the Desert?: Malian musician Khaira Arby

The Nigun Project: The Baal Shem Tov's Nigun

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.

Reinterpreting a Drinking Song: Musicians Cynthia Hopkins and Jeremiah Lockwood collaborate on the nigun ?Surely, There Will Be Vodka.?

The Nigun Project: Surely, There Will Be Vodka

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.

Hip-Hop Nigun: Dan Wolf, left, and Tommy Shepherd, right, collaborated with Jeremiah Lockwood on the fifth installment of The Nigun Project.

The Nigun Project: Sing for Your Life

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.

Swaying and Shaking: Jeremiah Lockwood of The Sway Machinery, left, and Alexander Benaim of The Harlem Shakes.

The Nigun Project: From Our Hiding Places

“From Our Hiding Places,” this month’s installment of The Nigun Project, features Alexander Benaim, the singer and songwriter behind the indie rock band The Harlem Shakes. Benaim, a composer and writer, is now working on a solo project, which will draw on the sounds of his family’s Moroccan and Iranian origins. Benaim’s flair for creating a sense of place in his music is on full display in our collaboration.

Soulful: Lockwood and Ziegler reinterpreted ?Melodies I Have Seen.?

The Nigun Project: Melodies I Have Seen

In the third installment of The Nigun Project, The Sway Machinery’s Jeremiah Lockwood and Balkan Beat Box’s Itamar Ziegler reinterpret the 1947 song, “Melodies I Have Seen.”