(PRWEB) November 20, 2009
In an unprecedented act of intercultural exchange, Brooklyn-based maverick singer-guitarist-composer-cantor Jeremiah Lockwood and his rock band The Sway Machinery have been invited to participate in the iconic Festival of the Desert in Mali, the heart of Islamic Africa - the most revered large-scale music festival in that region.
A watershed moment for both the festival organizers and featured performer, each has embraced the moment for what it truly is; a hand extended in friendship across the world, across cultures and across a historically fractious cultural divide between Muslims and Jews.
Beyond the significance of bringing the first featured Jewish performer to the Festivals’ spotlight is the question of what the audience will experience once Lockwood and The Sway Machinery take to the stage under the Sahara desert sky. “Our music is a hybrid of sorts, drawing on blues, soul and African-pop music in our re-contextualization of the Cantorial tradition,” says the self-effacing Lockwood. “I’m not sure how the audience will take to it, but I’m eager to find out.” Another artist who was eager to find out what that same audience would be like was Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin fame, who – like Lockwood – was invited by the organizers in an effort to open it’s doors to the West. Moved beyond expectations, Plant confessed to Rolling Stone in March 2003 that “…It's one of the few honest things I have been part of in a long, long time... It reminded me of why I sang in the first place...”
Now it’s Lockwood’s turn to take the stage and for this eclectic rocker - and grandson of renowned Cantor Jacob Konigsberg - the idea that he has been chosen to carry the cantorial tradition deep into the Sahara is profound. “I admire the festival organizers courage having me as their first Jewish featured artist. Inviting The Sway Machinery shows that they really have their ears to the ground for new innovations in traditional music.”
A consummate storyteller and conceptual artist, Jeremiah has embarked on capturing the experience on film. Pilgrimage begins with the physical act of the bands’ caravan journeying through the Sahara desert – 3 days of arduous travel – then 3 days at the festival, then 3 days trek back to Bamako where a new musical CD will be recorded featuring original compositions and collaborations with top-notch Malian musicians. All of this will be captured in a documentary by award-winning filmmaker Jonathan Hock who is currently engaged in discussions with Cinetic Media (“Super Size Me” and “Napoleon Dynamite”) regarding distribution strategies for Pilgrimage.
The documentary and musical recording will enable The Sway Machinery to bring its unique exploration of the historic Jewish cantorial music tradition to a global audience. Both film and CD will engage audiences about the nature of contemporary Jewish identity and question the usual narrative of Muslim-Jewish relations, while pushing the scope of The Sway Machinery's music into new, uncharted territory.
*A Special Note About The Pilgrimage Fundraising Effort:
Donors can now make tax-deductible contributions to support The Sway Machinery Pilgrimage project – both online and offline - thereby joining the Pilgrimage initiative. (see links below) The need to raise more funds is a pressing concern for the Pilgrimage project. Jeremiah Lockwood and the members of The Sway Machinery are reaching out to philanthropists and micro-philanthropists of all faiths and persuasions through an affiliation with a registered 501(C)3 tax-exempt trans-denominational non-profits arts and education organization called Joodayoh who are The Sway Machinery Pilgrimage project’s founding sponsor.
The Pilgrimage project needs your financial support to move forward operationally because traditional funding for such efforts is scarce. By giving generously, you will help launch the bands journey and spread the good word. By supporting the upcoming documentary and CD efforts for global distribution, the Pilgrimage project has the potential to lead to a breakthrough for not only Muslims and Jews but for all people who thirst for an opportunity to reach out, reconcile and celebrate diversity in the face of adversity. Music enables this dialog bridging differences, allowing collaboration and inviting camaraderie to embrace the people of the desert once more.
For The Sway Machinery Pilgrimage Press & Business Inquiries: info(AT)swaymachinery.com
The Sway Machinery Pilgrimage Press & Business Phone: 917-210-0536 ext 516
To Phone In Your Donation to The Sway Machinery Pilgrimage Fund: 917-210-0536 ext 503
To Mail in your Donation to The Sway Machinery Pilgrimage Fund: *make check out to “Joodayoh, Inc.” and in memo area write down “TSMP” or “Pilgrimage Fund” and send to Joodayoh, Inc PO Box1695 NYC NY 10159-1695. A receipt for your donation will be sent to you so please provide either a return snail mail or email address in your envelope.
For The Sway Machinery Website: http://www.swaymachinery.com
For The Sway Machinery Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/theswaymachinery
For The Sway Machinery Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/photo_search.php?oid=180810342995&view=user#/event.php?eid=180810342995&ref=mf
For The Festival Of The Desert Homepage: http://www.festival-au-desert.org/
Joodayoh Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit arts and education organization whose mission is to cultivate and present genuinely innovative arts projects that promote the trans-denominational, universal values of social justice, kindness and charity.