Blackwater Jukebox new EP - The Howling: Forbidden Melodies Vol. 1 is available for free at Bandcamp.
The songs are adapted from “Incantations & Spell Songs of the Netotsi” (1886).
The Netotsi were a group of 19th century Romani who escaped slavery and lived in the wilds of the Carpathian Mountains, resisting all attempts to recapture them. Accounts refer to them as: terribly cruel, as cunning as foxes. The most degraded and debased of all the Gypsies: semi-feral, half-naked, living on theft and rapine.
Police would never go near the Netotsi in wild places, for they were so treacherous it was impossible to get the better of them. Peasants believed them to be shape-shifters – the children of man and wolf. Accusations of cannibalism abounded. These horrific acts were written into legal record when twenty-one Netotsi and their chief Kolomon Jona, were convicted of this crime in Prague May, 1929.
The Netotsi disappeared after World War II. Some propose Holocaust extermination. Others claim inbreeding caused extinction. A contested theory: they escaped to the Americas.
Although commissioned by the Vatican, Incantations & Spell Songs of the Netosti was later banned under threat of excommunication. Believed destroyed, the work recently remerged in the Budapest Archives after slipping from an early manuscript on Magyar hot tub etiquette.
Adapted from “Incantations & Spell Songs of the Netotsi (Outlaw Forest Gypsies of the Carpathians)” by F.H. La Rage (1886)
Cold as Death
Notorious as a hymn of demonic evocation. The melody bears similarities to the 1915 Hungarian pop sensation “My Baby Wears Yellow Boots.” The “boots” may refer to the footwear of peeled human flesh associated with the Vlkodlak – or Skinwalker.
A fertility chant. Experts believe this to be a prayer to Nivashi, the water goddess and most powerful deity of the Netotsi pantheon. Alternative theories suggest a connection with Wodna Muz (the water man) - a sinister monster that lies in wait to drag people to the depths.
A spell song for eternal youth. Expert note the similarities to the Magyar melody “Szep a Rozsam” – an extremely popular tune in the Trans-Carpathian Romani repertoire, especially at weddings and circumcisions.
Breaking Dawn (Eye of the Devil)
Originally entitled “Ochiu Dracului” or “Eye of the Devil.” A melodic old wives tale to scare wayward children. The legend tells of a dark and sinister lake where the Devil teaches an academy of the dark arts. The favorite food of the Satan and his students: ill-behaved children.
Origin unknown. Variations found throughout Central and Eastern Europe. The tune bears uncanny resemblance to the melodic contour of wolf calls recorded by J. Arthur Thompson in the High Carpathians.
Released March 15, 2016
Leif Bunting – bass
Heather Cano – bassoon
Scott Keil – drums, percussion
Geordie McElroy – banjo, organ, vocals
Jonathan Soucy – electric guitar
Donna Suppipat - percussion
Andy Yamazaki - saw
Recorded & Mixed by Jonathan Soucy @ Electroman Studios
Mastered by Tim Sturges