TOTW #10 - Zusha
Updated: Jun 10
So you're sat on the sofa and decide to stick a film on, it's lockdown, this is practically as much of our lives as breakfast is by this point, right? Well this time it was a little different...
Having found out about a unique horror film by the name of 'The Vigil' I knew it was one for me to check out. Being a horror movie connoisseur I've seen my fair share but the context of this being set in an orthodox Jewish community and being half spoken in Yiddish intrigued me - However it didn't scream out as a potential place to find one of my new favourite bands and a song that would go on to soundtrack my Spring. Yet, here we are.
The credits roll on the film (which was brilliant, by the way) and within a few moments i'm reaching for my phone to shazam the hell out of it... I'm greeted by Ashrei by Zusha and find myself down a rabbit hole of cinematic and beautiful poetry for the evening, and what a treat it proved to be.
Ashrei, I went on to learn, is a Hebrew prayer recited at least three times a day in Jewish prayers and the word translates to 'happy', 'praiseworthy' or 'fortunate'. When learning this I then thought back to the track itself and if I felt that way when first listening - I'm not sure I did. I felt a sense of potential reprieve, something of hope amidst some pain, such is the emotive strain that is portrayed by Zusha vocalist Shlomo Gaisin. Perhaps that is where the 'fortunate' part of it's meaning comes through melodically...
My hebrew isn't too hot so I respond to the song purely from a sonic point of view and this is where it lead me to - The fact I was having these thoughts and queries in my mind said it all about the song itself. For me personally, this is the reason I listen to music, to have an emotional response, something that evoke questions within me and take me somewhere that sound shouldn't have the power to do but does. Zusha's sound is this in a nutshell - Provocative, thought-inducing and thoroughly enchanting.
The production on this track is equally inspired with perhaps somewhat unexpected electronic elements becoming incorporated with an oscillating pocket-piano sound joining an organic sound. It doesn't just work, it lifts the track even further.
It's worth noting that not all of Zusha's music has such an intense undercurrent and when you begin to dig through their archive you realise they are equally talented at spreading joyful and up-beat rhythms as they are the haunting Ashrei.
Mashiach is just one example of this which you can hear below via the official music video.
With no UK tour dates currently in the diary we can only hope that they will be announcing dates soon and we cannot wait to welcome them to Brighton for what I'm sure will be a spectacular live show. If not, we're going to have to get to New York ourselves to make sure we don't miss the opportunity...
Cathartic, inspired and soul-feeding. We implore you to check out Zusha via the links below;
Words by @jacko_hooper
To read more of our Track of The Week features click here.