My Father My King
2001 Matador Records
Mogwai is a band from Scotland. They have regularly ended their shows with My Father My King, a 20 minute electric guitar version of Avinu Malkeinu. None of the band memebrs are Jewish. They say it was taught to them by Arthur Baker who produced early rappers such as Afrika Bambata. The song is all instrumental and starts mellow with the "avinu malkeinu" verse. Half-way through they fade out and shift to the "asai emanu, tzedaka va chesed" verse. This drones on and ended with lots of guitar distortion and feedback until it finally fades away and is met with thunderous applause from the audience. The song has been refered to as Jewish Hymn. The orginal words are from Hebrew scripture are are sung during Yom Kippur, the fast day of atonement. "Our Father our King be gracious unto us and answer us. Deal with us in charity, loving-kingness and save us."
"The encore is a hymn they like to call "The Jewish Song," taught to the band by famed hip-hop producer Arthur Baker. A chiming chord progression gets faster and louder - only to drop away and build back up, over and over, for twenty minutes. Braithwaite pulls up the hood of his parka in a futile effort to protect his eardrums. (He doesn't follow his own advice on earplugs.) Finally, the melody disappears underneath an ocean of distortion, as Mogwai spin random knobs on their instruments. They walk offstage, leaving the road crew to turn off the amps. When they finally do, everyone's ears are ringing and there's a loud silence, a silence filled with a threat that didn't exist before."
- GAVIN EDWARDS
So Mogwai stops playing and they leave the stage. Then they come back on after a few minutes to play an encore. The entire encore was made up of one song called 'My Father My King', a reworking of a traditional Jewish hymn that Mogwai recently released as a single on Matador Records. This song made the entire trip worthwhile. I can’t even tell you how incredible it was. They take one single progression and build it up into one of the most brilliant pieces of live music I have ever heard. The climax of the encore was cut off by every single string being pulled from every single instrument, all instruments turned up to 11, guitars hung on top of racks, and feedback eat8ing away at the audiences eardrums. While Stuart (the guy who stands where the singer would stand if Mogwai had a singer) sang something over and over. Very moving, and the song turned my impression of the evening around a full 180 degrees. Well done Mogwai, you are true rock and rollers.”
This one track, 21 minute long EP was recorded in London in August 2001 and released two months later.
It was recorded, mixed and mastered by Steve Albini and is based on a tradtional Jewish Hymn which was introduced to the band by Arthur Baker.
Mogwai Official web site
Copyright 2003 Jewish Community Radio