Circle of light

Israeli spiritual soul band Orot prescribes its own brand of musical medicine.

THE MUSIC is only the instrument to remind us that we are sharing this journey through life. Our stories are different and our experiences are different, but the emotions are the same,’ says Orot band member Uria Tsur (center). (photo credit: YAIR GOLOV)
THE MUSIC is only the instrument to remind us that we are sharing this journey through life. Our stories are different and our experiences are different, but the emotions are the same,’ says Orot band member Uria Tsur (center).
(photo credit: YAIR GOLOV)
Uria Tsur and Orka Teppler believe music is medicine. They sing to heal and be healed, and have garnered a massive following in Israel from their brand of spiritual soul music.
To attend an Orot concert is to experience and actively take part in a sacred song circle.
It is truly unlike any other music show on offer. Orot recently released their second album, Shuv L’Makom (Return To Your Place). They are playing on March 24 at the Sacred Journey festival in Shitim, and April 14 at the Zorba the Buddha festival, also in Shitim. Tsur sat down with The Jerusalem Post to discuss circles, intuitive music and waking up.
Can you talk about the creation of Orot?
When we recorded the first album , Walk the Light, we didn’t have any idea. It was me and Orka, Ori, the drummer, and our musical connection. We decided to make a CD. So we went to Kedita and recorded in one of the wooden shacks. We went with our friend who is this amazing rasta with years of experience in the sound industry and we recorded this album on a solar powered system in a living room. It took us three-and-a-half days to record it and there was a lot of excitement involved, and tears of happiness. Everything was flowing out.
We just went for it. I only realized later on how deep the album was. When we were deciding on a name for the band, we had Orka, Ori and Uria, so it was Orot. That is the essence of the connection between us; spreading the light and reminding people that we are one family and that we share the same experience. I always have these grand ideas about what I want the project to be, and then it shows me what it wants to be.
Orot is teaching me how to let go and listen to the intelligence of the actual project.
When I’m guiding the sacred song circle, I don’t know what I’m going to say. I believe that the circle has all of our knowledge and experience combined. It’s a synergy. It’s so much more than what I can know. How can I know what the right thing is to say to 500 people? I just feel when it’s the right time to speak and observe it as it’s happening. Slowly I see how the right message came out.
What I experienced on January 26 at your album launch was more of a sacred song circle than a concert. Is that the way an Orot show is always set up?
Yes, we try our best to always do it that way. We recently played at the yoga festival in Pardes Hanna and they wanted us to be on stage because they didn’t have the time to deal with all the technical issues to have us playing on the floor. So we started the concert on stage, but after two songs of Orka and I not hearing the people singing with us, we felt the disconnection. We went down and sat in the middle and everybody joined us in a circle. Then it was magical again. We understand that this is the way it has to be. The biggest circle we’ve had so far was at the Zorba the Buddha festival at the desert ashram and it was 1,500 people. The intensity and glory of 1,500 people singing together and holding an intention of communion together was indescribable. It’s healing. It reminds us that we are not alone.
The music is only the instrument to remind us that we are sharing this journey through life. Our stories are different and our experiences are different, but the emotions are the same. We share love, fear, happiness, sadness, enthusiasm; we are together in it.
That makes me think of the point in the show when you sang, “send your request on the waves of the ocean.” That was very powerful.
It is. Our mutual intentions are so strong.
As human beings, we can create synergistic effects. Our whole is larger than the sum of its parts. After the circle, we will all go and continue in our individual journeys. We want to use the circle to strengthen each of us in his or her personal journey; to use the togetherness to grow stronger.
The circle is the perfect metaphor then for what you’re doing.
Exactly, it’s an intimate experience. I do a lot of concerts which are on stage as well with my other band, Jah Bless. I’m still trying to figure out how to bring the same kind of intimacy. I’m working on it. If I’m on stage in the lights and the audience is on the floor in the darkness, then it’s more like a one-night thing. There’s less commitment to really bring myself to the mutual experience.
That’s what makes it powerful.
Do you think that the rise in popularity of like-minded artists, such as Nahko Bear and Trevor Hall, shows that the world is more open to this kind of music?
The world is creating it. We are an expression of the movement that is happening.
You can see it expressing itself through music, conversation, and even in big companies that are working with spiritual practices to make the environment more holistic and ultimately more profitable. It’s happening, the human family is waking up. It’s amazing because I’m a part of it when I’m awake and when I’m asleep. Without sleeping, I can not wake up. We’re never totally either, we’re always a little bit of both.
When we connect and put an intention, we might as well put it on waking up.
What can you tell me about Orot’s new album?
The first album was our intuitive connection that burst forth. The new album is our journey; four years of learning what we are. We are a four-year-old child. We know a little bit more, we play, we jump, we cry, we sing together. We are more able to express ourselves now. I’m really excited to see what we will be when we’re 25 years old. The album is really the expression of what we have become now. Each song we recorded was stamped into eternity and I’m already filled with inspiration for the next CD to come. We recorded this one in Beit Keshet, much more formally. In Kedita, the recording was all live. With this one, we could fix all kinds of small things. There was a lot of creative process after the recording.
It changes it.
How was that for you?
It’s not so natural for me because I’m a really intuitive person. I’m developing a genre with Jah Bless called intuitive music where we go up on stage and have no idea what’s going to happen. We just start playing and as I sing the words, I’m observing them. It’s like channeling. I believe that the magic particle in life is the unknown. But at the same time, I see how amazing it is to go really deep into the details of the music. It’s a different way.
What kind of light is Orot?
Each person has a specific shade. Someone might be red, but they’re one unique kind of red. Each one of us is a once-increation shade and frequency. Orot is all of those shades combined into one, so it’s always variations of white, but it’s never complete. Every time it’s different because the circle is always different. Because we are dedicated to the circle, we try to put our ideas aside and really be attentive to what is being asked of us. So the light is different every time.