Jeremiah Lockwood

Jeremiah Lockwood is a scholar and a storyteller; a singer, guitarist and composer with an expansive knowledge of musical traditions and techniques that range from cantorial sacred music to Piedmont blues. His career as musician and academic engages with issues arising from peering into the archive and imagining the power of “lost” forms of expression to articulate keenly felt needs in the present.

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Jeremiah's first book is out now:

Cover image for Golden Ages

Golden Ages: Hasidic Singers and Cantorial Revival in the Digital Era

Book release with California University Press

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Golden Ages: Hasidic Singers and Cantorial Revival in the Digital Era relates the engaging stories of a group of non-conformist musicians in the New York Chassidic community. Cantorial revivalists are singers who have immersed themselves in the archive of early 20th century commercial Jewish liturgical records, approaching them as a source to build performance identities and musical style. The work of cantorial revivalists is a product of the digital era, shaped both by access to internet-based archival sources and social media platforms for self- promotion. More frequently heard online, in private parties and in concert venues than in synagogues, the work of cantorial revival pushes at normative associations with Jewish prayer, blurring the line between ritual and art.

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Jeremiah Lockwood is a scholar and musician, working in the fields of Jewish studies, performance studies and ethnomusicology. His work engages with issues arising from peering into the archive and imagining the power of “lost” forms of expression to articulate keenly felt needs in the present. Both his music performance and scholarship gravitate towards the Jewish liturgical music and Yiddish expressive culture of the early 20th century and the reverberations of this cultural moment in present day artistic and religious communities. Jeremiah’s research considers the work of cantors as arbiters of social, intellectual and aesthetic change in times of crisis and cultural transformation. Jeremiah is a current Fellow at the Katz Center Fellow for Advanced Judaic Research at the University of Pennsylvania. His first book, Golden Ages: Hasidic singers and cantorial revival in the digital era, was published by University of California Press in February 2024. Lockwood continues to maintain an active performance schedule with The Sway Machinery, and with Gordon Lockwood, his duo project with percussionist Ricky Gordon, a fellow disciple of Carolina Slim.

Jeremiah received his PhD from the Stanford University Graduate School of Education Concentration in Education and Jewish Studies in 2021. His dissertation and book project illuminates the work of contemporary Hasidic cantors who embrace early 20th century cantorial music as a non-conforming aesthetic and spiritual practice that cuts against the grain of the musical and social norms of their birth community. He was a 2022-23 Yale Institute of Sacred Music Fellow, where he conducted research on the khaznte phenomenon of popular women performers of cantorial music in the early 20th century and composed a new piece of music, titled In der vayber shul/In the Women’s Synagogue that offered a creative response to this fecund moment in Jewish musical history and premiered at Yale on April 1, 2023. Jeremiah was the recipient of the 2021 Salo Baron New Voices in Jewish Studies Award and the 2019-20 recipient of the YIVO Kremen Memorial Fellowship in East European Arts, Music and Theater.

Lockwood’s music career began with over a decade of apprenticeship to the legendary Piedmont Blues musician Carolina Slim, playing in the subways of New York City. He also trained under his grandfather Cantor Jacob Konigsberg and performed in his choir. His band The Sway Machinery seeks inspiration from diverse realms of experience related to the cultural geography of New York City. The Sway Machinery has played around the world, including stints at legendary music festivals like Montreal Jazz, Roskilde, and perhaps most notably, Festival au Desert in Timbuktu, Mali. In addition to leading The Sway Machinery, Lockwood toured for years as guitarist in the popular world-beat band Balkan Beat Box and has scored numerous film and video projects. Lockwood’s duo project with musician Jewlia Eisenberg (of blessed memory), Book of J, released their debut album in 2018 to critical acclaim and were artists in residence at YIVO, University of Colorado, University of Chicago, Williams College, and Cornell University, among other residencies and projects.