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Mogwai - My Father My King - Avinu Malkeinu

By Ben Bresky
9/27/2008, 12:00 AM
20 minutes of droning, trance-inducing guitar distortion should put you in the Rosh HaShanah spirit. Special thanks to the Teruah Jewish music blog for reminding me about My Father My King by Mogwai. I originally found this song back in the olden days when Napster was still around and popular. I used to type in key words like "israel" or "jewish" and one day I found something called Jewish Hymn, which is officially entitled My Father My King. It is Mogwai's version of Avinu Malkeinu and is is about 20 minutes long. Avinu Malkeinu actually translates at Our Father Our King.



Mogwai is a band from Scotland. None of the members are Jewish. You can purchase a CD single / EP from iTunes. I made a new iTunes iMix with it and other electric guitar based punk-esque sounding songs.

 

Here are some reviews of it:

"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
Rolling Stone 875 - Aug. 16, 2001

"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 eating 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.”
Steve Kowalski
Interference Magazine
Volume 2 – Issue 6

"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 traditional Jewish Hymn which was introduced to the band by Arthur Baker."
Mogwai Official web site
www.mogwai.co.uk

Also on the Teruah blog there is a version of Avinu Malkeinu by the band Phish, which does have some Jewish members. I did an interview on Teruah which you can find here. I am sure there are more interesting versions of the song. Maybe I'm make a mix to play on my next show. If anyone knows of any, or has suggestions or Rosh HaShanah music, email me or leave a talkback.