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.
“The Nigun Project” by Jeremiah Lockwood is now available from Amazon.
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.
For this nigun, from the mid-century Lubavitch Sefer HaNigunim, Jeremiah Lockwood performs with Basya Schechter of “Pharaoh’s Daughter.”
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.
“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.
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.”