What Is Jewish Music?

If anyone knows what Jewish music is, it’s Jeremiah Lockwood of The Sway Machinery. As a band leader and a musical researcher, he takes Jewish songs that are thousands of years old and orchestrates them for his band (which includes members of Tom Waits’ band and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs…swoon!). And as a person, he might have the most eclectic musical taste of anyone on Earth, with his tastes (and performances) ranging from medieval Spanish-Jewish music to Eastern European niggunim to original songs.

You might remember Jeremiah’s explanations of What Is a Shofar? and What Is a Cantor?, as well as the amazing cut we got of Jeremiah singing “Hineni” a capella, seemingly off the cuff, and utterly bringing down the house. This is the last entry in that set, but you can be sure that our “What Is?” series is going to continue…and we’re far from finished with Mr. Lockwood.


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