“Jaggery audiences go silent and still like people appreciating raw, scary, beautiful wildlife.” That observation was made by web magazine, Cambridge Day, in reaction to the Boston-based five-piece, who work the dark edge of a genre-defying musical style (darkwave jazz? ethereal avant-rock? chamber art-pop?) Moving from haunting lullabies to intricately-woven mixed-meter rants to catharsis-inducing mini-epics, the band borrows pages out of the books of both Kate Bush and Alice Coltrane, suggesting a classical, organic, avant-jazz-oriented Cocteau Twins or a “white witch” counter to the haunting Diamanda Galas.
Jaggery found its footing in New York, writing and performing under different monikers until 2004 when the band began to take its current shape: singer/songstress/pianist Singer Mali is flanked by a rotating lineup of musicians and instrumentation, including Daniel Schubmehl’s West African and jazz approach to the drum kit, Tony Leva’s often prepared upright bass, Rachel Jayson’s avant-classical viola, and Petaluma Vale’s glistening Celtic harp and backing vocals.
Jaggery have brought their dark and dramatic sound to the stage of Boston’s NEMO conference in 2005, Toronto’s NXNE in 2011, and have opened for Amanda Palmer and Wye Oak. Their live show has become as much a theatrical performance as an audio one, with the band often accompanied by dancers, aerialists, and film.
Jaggery (the word comes from the dark brown, Indian sugar) has toured nationally, and has released four recordings: 2004’s In Lethe EP, 2006’s Polyhymnia, 2010’s Upon A Penumbra, and their most recent release, 2012’s Private Violence EP, which garnered international praise.