Shout Your Prayers! Award-Winning Seattle Band Combines Iraqi Jewish Prayer with Original Rock, Invoking the Medicinal Power of Song and Story.
On July 16, Iraqis in Pajamas releases their second album, Pijamama, with searingly honest lyrics and starkly contrasting music that explore how to heal the wounds of inter-generational trauma.
Seattle, WA – With an album cover featuring “the original Iraqi in pajamas” – Abraham Khazzoom, grandfather of lead singer Loolwa Khazzoom – Pijamama is an EP featuring three songs: “Mahalnu” references the ancient Jewish practice of asking forgiveness before Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year – posing the question of what happens when someone asks for forgiveness, without changing behavior, especially in the case of violence. Prayerful vocals alternate with chaotic guitar riffs and aggressive rhythm, as Khazzoom asks, “What is the difference between forgiveness of you and erasure of me?”
“The Fixer” is prayer-through-declaration, a refusal to fall into the pattern of compensating for someone else’s inability or unwillingness to do the work of a relationship. The chorus, ashir shir hadash (I will sing a new song) comes from Ezer Musarai, an Iraqi Jewish song for the holiday of Purim. Khazzoom felt uplifted while singing it as a child, envisioning the expansiveness of possibility that emerges, when we boldly choose a new path forward.
“Fireball” expresses the anguish of caregiving for a loved one, despite emotional violence: “You can be downright vicious/Throwing a fireball/At the one who cares most about you/The one who is always there for you…” With soft vocals, gripping harmonies, and a driving duet between keys and guitar, the song elicits the complexity and conflict of feelings that inspired the song’s creation.
The album title, Pijamama (Hebrew for “pajama”) is a playful inversion of the historically derogatory stereotype of Iraqi Jews in Israel – which was also the impetus for the band’s name, Iraqis in Pajamas. It features Khazzoom on vocals and bass, Robbie Morsehead on drums, Cali Hackmann on keyboard and backup vocals, and Alden Hackmann on guitar. The melody and lyrics for all three songs were written by Khazzoom.
The album is being released in honor of Khazzoom’s mother and best friend, EJ, who transitioned to the next life on July 16, 2019, who encouraged Khazzoom to pursue her music, and who, together with Khazzoom, demonstrated the ability to radically transform ourselves and our relationships – and to stop the crushing boulder of inter-generational trauma – when are willing to face and go through the darkness together.
released July 16, 2021
Loolwa Khazzoom - singer, songwriter, bass player
Robbie Morsehead - drummer
Alden Hackmann - guitarist
Cali Hackmann - keyboard player
Iraqis in Pajamas (see IraqisInPajamas.com) fuses Iraqi Jewish prayers with original indie rock and personal storytelling,
singing in Judeo-Arabic, Hebrew, and English. In turn vulnerable and angry, haunting and inspiring, the band disarms audiences, opening them to deep contemplation about trauma, healing, and transformation. The band operates as a nonprofit, and donations are tax deductible....more