World in Stereo examines classic and modern world music while striving for a greater appreciation of other cultures.
The Sway Machinery: “Gawad Teriamou”[audio:http://alarm-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/07-Gawad-Teriamou.mp3|titles=The Sway Machinery: “Gawad Teriamou”]
Led by guitarist and lead singer Jeremiah Lockwood, Brooklyn-based band The Sway Machinery includes Yeah Yeah Yeahs drummer Brian Chase, brass players Stuart Bogie and Jordan Mclean (Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra), and baritone-sax player Colin Stetson (Tom Waits, Arcade Fire). Though something of a name-dropper’s perfect dream, The Sway Machinery actually resembles very little of its individual parts.
Instead, under the vision of Lockwood, the collective explores Jewish cantorial music within the broader sphere of world music, injecting the ancient tradition with Afro-rhythms and blues-tinged soul. The distinct sound stems from two figures in Lockwood’s life: his grandfather, renowned cantor Jacob Konigsberg, who instilled in his lifeblood the ancient heritage of synagogue music; and Piedmont blues virtuoso Carolina Slim, who mentored Lockwood early in his career, as he played the streets and subways of New York City. It’s a far-out mix that is sacredly funky, executed brilliantly by a collective with a dense amalgamation of contemporary sensibilities.