The Story of HuDost...
The music of HuDost weaves a seamless tapestry of Folk, World, and Rock that renders tears and laughter in listeners, cultivating the nameless longing that abides somewhere in all our hearts and invoking total celebration. HuDost’s core musicians are Moksha Sommer, from Montréal, and Jemal Wade Hines from Kentucky. Having toured the U.S., Canada, and Europe constantly since April 2006, HuDost has grown and expanded, travelled rocky and glorious terrain and marveled at all they can learn and explore. Moksha and Jemal Wade in this time have grown as artists, as seekers, as a couple and as a family. Since 2015 they have also been highly engaged activists, doing advocacy work as KY Congressional District Representatives for ONE (a non-profit organization working to end extreme poverty and, specifically, the sexism of poverty).
HuDost’s most recent album, 'of Water + Mercy', received rave reviews and, as an independent release, reached #24 in the BILLBOARD SALES CHARTS for Folk/Americana. It just won The Independent Music Award for Social Action Song. The album was made with Vance Powell who is a top-tier producer/mixer who’s worked with artists such as Jack White (White Stripes), Chris Stapleton, Pearl Jam, Willie Nelson, Buddy Guy, Beyonce, Beck, Alicia Keys, Melissa Etheridge, Kings of Leon and a slew of others. Dan Haseltine from the GRAMMY Award-winning band Jars of Clay has been on board to help with production and all of the Jars of Clay members play on the album. On past albums HuDost has worked with GRAMMY Award-winning producer Malcolm Burn (Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, Peter Gabriel) and GRAMMY Award-winning mixer Oz Fritz (Tom Waits, Bill Laswell, Primus).
“We met Dan Haseltine of Jars of Clay not through music but through our shared work in political advocacy acting on behalf of people living in extreme poverty,” says Moksha Sommer. “Through music and advocacy we have witnessed incredible and real change and know the astonishing power of collective voices on behalf of those who do not have the ability, and sometimes even the rights, to be heard. Songwriting with Dan was a wonderful process of the three of us contributing all that we could and being attached to nothing. I think the result is quite remarkable and reflects the very thing the song is about; rising together through shared vision and action.” “Rise Together,” a powerful call to unity, marked the lead single from Of Water + Mercy (recorded at Nashville’s Gray Matters Studio) and instantly found support from Spotify being added to official playlists.
In 2020, they wrote and performed the score for 'This Holding'; a collaboration with visual artist Jana Harper and choreographer Rebecca Steinberg that received an NEA Grant and was presented through OZ Arts. It received a Writer’s Choice award for “Best Move From Live Performance to Video” AND a Readers' Poll tie for “Best Streaming Event” through NASHVILLE SCENE.
HuDost functions as a duo or as a band, including guest musicians of varying sensibilities and backgrounds, and often including dance in their shows. As a duo their instrumentation includes vocals, harmonium (Indian Pump-Organ), NORD Keys, guitars, Dulcinet, percussion, and a slew of sonic ambient effects. Their music is a rich, eclectic blending of pop and rock with traditional Sufi music, Bulgarian, Croatian, Macedonian and Balkan folk music, Farsi, Turkish, Arabic, and folk. Their sound crosses all borders and barriers, taking the listener on a journey they will never forget.
Highlight performances include Bonnaroo, Resident band at FloydFest, BhaktiFest, World Café Live, Blissfest, The ARK, Alex Grey’s CoSM, the Salvador Dali Museum, Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival, headlining The Islands Folk Fest (Vancouver), WMNF’s Tropical Heat Wave Festival, The Levitt Pavilions, WoodSongs at the Kentucky Theater (on PBS), Nashville’s Bluebird Café, Music City Roots, Tim Robbins’ WTF?! Fest, The Montreal Folk Festival, The Stan Rogers Folk Festival, and many more. Highlight collaborations and opening slots for other artists include Ani DiFranco, Philip Glass, Jon Anderson (YES), Joan Osborne, Snatam Kaur, Steve Kilbey (The Church), Ramy Essam, California Guitar Trio, Bell Orchestre, Neko Case, Jim Lauderdale, Omar Faruk Tekbilek, Mercan Dede, and many more.
HuDost's music is a powerful expression of life's journey and discovery. In 2008, Moksha went through a painful process of brain surgery due to a tumor. The healing from this included re-learning language skills, losing and regaining proper sight, and experiencing seizures. This could have been staggering but instead served as learning that has fueled a potent desire to bring healing through sound. In 2013 their amazing son, Kaleb, was brought into the world. It is through music that the losses and gains, pains and triumphs, and excruciating beauty of life can be given a voice of empathy to the synonymous lives of all people. Both critics and fans have said time and time again that the music of HuDost is this very expression.
HuDost’s message comes from real experience, real emotion, and real concern for the world - from the birth of a child, to the healing of the body, to the healing of the planet, their words and music echo the human experience.
HuDost has a folk quality yet is quite postmodern; the band offers new takes on ancient words and melodies, cross-cultural hybrid transcendental chill-out music with an edge.… This is not fluffy new-age music—it’s serious, complex fare with no aversion to addressing agony. Sommer’s vocal execution is precisely orchestrated, her voice-opening, hollow-toned vortexes piercing through the tough spots... a journey of music and spirit.
— Chronogram Magazine
Yogis, kirtan lovers, ecstatic dance fans, and even people who don’t normally listen to sacred music are all raving about Sufi Kirtan by HuDost. In track after track, the neo-folk world rock duo brings heartfelt presence and innovative musical stylings to ancient Sufi mantras of love and healing. And it’s not surprising why. HuDost’s lead composer and singer, Moksha Sommer, has studied 12 different vocal styles from around the world. On Sufi Kirtan, her vocals simultaneously soothe and soar. Her partner in love and music, Jemal Wade Hines, lends a rock sensibility and sonically rich layers of vocals, guitar and synths. It’s official: Sufi Kirtan positions HuDost as a force to be reckoned with in modern mantra music.
— Soul Traveller
“HuDost’s blend of exotic traditional Sufi chants, world folk music and powerful electric guitar licks makes a unique cultural bridge. We love HuDost.”
— Allyson and Alex Grey
Teeming with rich, iridescent vocals layered over powerful electric guitar licks, driving percussion and the haunting church organ-esque tones of the harmonium accented by the shimmering strings of Shahi Baaja (Electric Indian Auto-Harp), Bazouki and Dulcinet, HuDost’s one-of-a-kind sound is built on the impeccable musicianship of life-partners Jemal Wade Hines and Moksha Sommer. HuDost performs as either a duo or along with a band of fellow eclectic musicians—often engaging concertgoers through multiple mediums by weaving performance art and dance into their shows for an unforgettable experience that will leave audiences spellbound.
— Louisa Johnston (Levitt Foundation)