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The Nigun Project: From Our Hiding Places

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

“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.

The once-popular melody on which we based this recording is known by the title “Mi Mitzrayim G’altanu,” which means, more or less, “Who took us from exile out of Egypt.” It is a phrase from the morning prayers, and the nigun, or wordless melody, may have been sung, at one time, with the text.

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