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‘OUR CONCERT is like a ceremony. It has a storyboard. We welcome the audience into the forest... We deal with love, attachment, death, fear, and then we connect to the heart,’ says Forest frontwoman Orka Teppler (center), seen here with the rest of the band.(Photo by: JUDE MOSCOVITCH)
Out of the woods
Spiritual world music group Forest takes us from darkness to light through their eclectic sounds.
Thirty four year old singer Orka Teppler is a veteran of the Israeli music scene. Her newest venture was born from a partnership with bassist Nitai Jamal Marcus. Teppler and Marcus met guitarist Eden Nir, violinist Nadav Fast, flutist Ruth Danon and drummer Itay Kfir, and Forest was formed. Their sound is both ethereal and grounded; spiritual folk for seeking souls. Forest has many upcoming shows: today in Zichron Ya’acov, in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem neighborhood on the 19th, Shavei Zion on the 20th, Givat Haim on the 28th and Tel Aviv on February 16. Teppler sat down with The Jerusalem Post to discuss egoless music, sacred ceremonies and walking barefoot in the forest.

How did Forest come together?

I’ve been wandering around the music world for many years, trying to find my place. It took me some time to understand that this is what I do. I didn’t accept that this is what I do until the world accepted me and invited me to sing and perform over and over again. Then I knew I must listen.

Forest was formed after a few years. It took me some time to find partners that had the same frame of mind as me and devotion. The bass player and I have been working together for seven or eight years. Playing in other projects, we met both the violin and guitar players. Last year, we met the drummer and then we knew that the group had formed.

I am not the leader; we are really a group. I would say that the bass player and I had a dream to have a band that plays music in an ego-less way. I write the songs, the bass player co-writes, the guitarist writes the music for it, and everyone can change everything.

Everyone is a part of it. It took some time to find the right people and feel good with each other. When we found it, we connected really well and now we are going for it.

Why the name Forest?

For me, most of the songs that I write deal with the emotional, philosophical side of life and trying to figure out the story. I always seem to look at life as walking barefoot alone at night in the forest. Most of our songs have forest or woods or names of trees. They are somehow connected to the forest. The forest is the most alive place in the world and it’s also the place I fear the most. In the daytime, it’s the place that I feel the most free. I really feel the power of the earth and the magic.

But at night, I’m very scared to be alone at night in the forest. Maybe as a girl... men might feel more comfortable. It’s my dream and I can’t do it because I’m too scared. This is my analogy to life; when things are dark and things are light.

You recorded an EP last year. What was that process like?

Before we knew we were a... band, we had a gig at a festival. So we worked really hard to have 12 songs ready for a show. It was beautiful and then we did another one and another one. We knew that we needed something on the Internet so that people could hear our music and we could book more shows. We picked the five songs we felt represented us the best and decided to do it. We devoted about a month and a half to working on these songs. We went into the studio, really low budget, and did it.

Do you have plans for another album? Yeah of course, we don’t consider that to be a first album. It’s like a... handshake, with no makeup on; we just woke up in the morning, this is us. We have a fantasy of making an album that can hold all of our musical fantasies inside of it, with a bigger budget. We hope that it will happen this year.

You guys have a lot of shows coming up. What will you be playing?

Our concert is like a ceremony. It has a storyboard.

We welcome the audience into the forest. We always do the same show, from beginning to end. We get through different states of mind and situations. We deal with love, attachment, death, fear, and then we connect to the heart with “Song for a Seeking Soul.” Then we become more upbeat and optimistic, more full of light. Then at the end, it finishes with an ecstatic... Irishstyle dance. Everyone goes crazy and dances together. We have a show coming up in Ein Kerem at a small place called Beit Hagat on the 19th. It’s a house that looks like a synagogue.

We’ll be playing an all acoustic show, which is nice in the winter.

Your shows sound amazing! It’s like a healing session and a sacred song circle rolled up into one.

I do sacred song circles and that’s one personality, but Forest is something different.

There is more space for the shadows; anger, pain and fear. We share the dark side of being a human in the world, whereas with the sacred song circles, it’s pure prayer. I let my guts out in both.

Why is it important to you to be in the shadows?

This is what there is in life. We find ourselves in anger, disbelief and fear. We are very curious about what the hell is happening and it’s not always miraculous. It can be really scary. For many years, I’ve tried not to look at that and not to communicate that side of myself, but now I think that it’s not real. I have to accept it as a part of life. I won’t fear it anymore because I will feel it and know that I can go through it. We are inviting the crowd to experience that also. If you walk through the forest alone at night, morning will come.

For more information on Forest’s upcoming shows, or to check out their music, visit: fref=ts or releases.
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