Oct 202013

I’m on the tail end of that four-day retreat I mentioned yesterday, still largely metal-deprived, and with a long plane flight home looming on the horizon. But I hate to let a day go by without posting something. Yesterday I put up some videos from an unusual Japanese band. So I thought, in keeping with the theme, that I ought to look for something equally off the beaten path. And my wishes were answered.

I happened to see a link posted by a Facebook friend to a recent interview that Kim Kelly conducted with trombonist Dan Blackberg about his band Deveykus. They’re a Hasidic doom metal band. I thought, fuck yeah, that sounds way off the beaten path. In the interview, Blackberg explained:

“The music we make is based on traditional Hasidic wordless melodies called nigunim (or nign in the singular) that are meant to be sung over and over again until your spirit either reaches some transcendent state, or your vocal chords give out. Hasidic culture, like a lot of cultures based around religious fundamentalism, has a ton of totally fucked up things about it, and then some seriously amazing music! One of the great traits of the culture is that they put singing these melodies above praying as a way to get your spirit lifted towards some divine energy. I can get behind that. Another great thing they do is appropriate all kinds of music with the excuse that they’re “reclaiming some divine spark in the melodies.” I think it’s great to turn that around and “reclaim” these melodies that almost no one outside of that world would ever hear for everyone!”

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