Skip to Content Skip to Navigation


sway with Khaira

In MEMORIAM KHAIRA ARBY, may her memory be a blessing. Our friend and collaborator Khaira Arby passed away in Bamako on August 19, 2018. The world misses her powerful voice.

The Sway Machinery will be appearing at Nublu on September 9, 2018 as part of New Years programming produced by the Because Jewish community...Jeremiah Lockwood will be serving as music director for all services. CLICK HERE FOR COMPLETE TICKETING INFORMATION

"Unclassifiable, uplifting" –The New Yorker

"The music of The Sway Machinery boasts incredible personal and communal depths, intertwined like a double helix." –Consequence of Sound

"One of the most individualistic and consistently exciting groups to emerge from this city in this century." –New York Music Daily



Purity and Danger, the follow up to the critically acclaimed 2011 release The House of Friendly Ghosts, is The Sway Machinery’s third full length album and the clearest articulation of the band’s mission to date. The new album presents The Sway Machinery’s unique sound that emerges from the intersection between past and future.

This unclassifiable, uplifting band is led by the singer and guitarist Jeremiah Lockwood, the grandson of the renowned cantor Jacob Konigsberg, whose choir Lockwood once sang in. Lockwood’s diverse musical influences also include a nearly two-decade apprenticeship in the New York subways with the legendary Piedmont blues master Carolina Slim and a collaboration with several prominent Malian musicians which took place on a long visit there a few years ago. All these incongruous influences are present, in varying degrees, in the group’s upbeat new record, “Purity and Danger.” On it, Afro-pop horn parts and Lockwood’s intricate vocals (often sung in Aramaic or Hebrew) are held together by the standout beats of the group’s drummer, John Bollinger. --THE NEW YORKER, February 2015

buy THE HOUSE OF FRIENDLY GHOSTS VOL 1 Originally released 2011 on JDub Records! CLICK HERE TO BUY NOW!!!

We spent January of 2010 in Mali, performing for an enthusiastic audience of thousands at the Festival au Desert in Timbuktu! After the festival we spent ten days recording a new record, The House of Friendly Ghosts, in Bamako, collaborating with brilliant Malian musicians including Khaira Arby, Super 11, Vieux Farka Toure and Djelimady Tounkara! The product of this remarkable experience was our second LP, The House of Friendly Ghosts Vol. 1.

"The music of Timbuktu is so big; it can receive any other kind of music—all kinds of music. When Sway Machinery arrived, they came to me and said, “Khaira, we're going to play something and we want you to join in.” When they started playing at the festival, and everyone was there, I thought, “What am I going to sing what this music?" But when I sang, everyone was... "Wow!” So then they came to see me in Bamako and they invited me to come and record on their album. Everything went well. I'm not sure if you've heard their album. It's really good. I sang with them, and they also accompanied me on a song, that is the title song of my CD, “Tarab.” And really that went very well. One could say that they are musicians of the north now."

--Khaira Arby, as quoted in

"Koudede was followed by Sway Machinery’s own set. They were strong and energetic. They brought the audience into their groove within seconds. While Lockwood sang in Hebrew, the Muslim crowd respected the music and showed its appreciation by dancing along."

"The Sway Machinery Pilgrimage, as they have entitled their Africa project, is a beautiful example for the world of the great role artists can play in building bridges of love and understanding between cultures. This project is of clear importance in establishing new and positive images of Jews and Muslims engaging with each other." --Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, Chairman, Cordoba Initiative


Order your copy today: click here

LIVE CONCERT DVD: Hidden Melodies Revealed 2007 NOW FOR SALE! Available now at Hidden Melodies Revealed 2007

"Lockwood's arrangements of Jewish cantorial songs whip up a frenzy wherein all the world's music can do that which music does best: celebrate. Such joyful synthesis is what music is all about, not to mention what New York is all about." --Buzz Poole, The Village Voice

Veteran subway-performing Blues singer Jeremiah Lockwood teams up with an all-star cast of NY underground greats (musicians who have graced the records of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Tom Waits, Arcade Fire and Antibalas, to name a few) to summon voices from beneath the concrete streets. Calling upon the sounds of Malian guitars, Saharan beats, Afro-pop horns and the B-L-U-E-S, The Sway Machinery goes knocking at the gates of prayer with muscles swollen and eyes clenched.