Lior: 'A sense of freedom and compassion'

feature (adelaide) | Read in About 3 minutes
Published 01 Mar 2018
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Lior Attar

Lior Attar was born in Israel and moved to Australia at the age of ten. His solo songwriting career has seen him nominated for many ARIA awards and Triple J’s Album of the Year. This Adelaide Festival season, Lior will be showing two distinct sides to his performance work.

Compassion was written in collaboration with Nigel Westlake as a full orchestral work. Ancient Hebrew and Islamic texts, and also proverbs, are woven with original soaring melodies, all conveying an underlying message of hope and exhilaration. The work has toured in Australia with the major symphony orchestras and across the US with the Austin Orchestra.

For the Adelaide Festival season, it has been scaled down to suit an eight piece ensemble. "I was concerned it would compromise the work, but it brings clarity. Sometimes with a full orchestra there is a lot going on at once and it can be hard to hear individual elements. This arrangement, although simplified, allows each element to be heard."

The inspiration of the piece stems from Lior's background and childhood. Although acutely aware of the unrest in Israel, he was also exposed to the significant similarities between Hebrew and Islamic texts, and musical works. "At a philosophical level, I wanted to find a dialogue and process to move toward peace in the Middle East, but my statement is not political, it’s humanitarian. I want to make a poignant statement of compassion."

Prior to working on Compassion, Lior would sing an acapella Hebrew hymn at the closing of his solo shows which described the sense of freedom found in compassion. Audiences would connect with the song and understand its meaning was sacred within the music, and become captivated by Lior's ability to effortlessly and entirely inhabit it. The audience’s reactions validated the interest in pursuing these ancient texts.

"[The audience] could get a feeling of elation or sacredness without understanding what I was saying. Through this work I explore my own timbre and style, but I am also conveying a greater sense of liberation – a sense of freedom which comes from being a more compassionate person."

Along with the two performances of Compassion, Lior also performs a solo show at The Palais showcasing his extensive back catalogue, and several pieces from his upcoming album. "I have always had a loyal following in Adelaide. The show at The Palais will be an intimate one, and I get to show the two sides of my work. I’ve always loved performing in Adelaide and I’m looking forward to hanging out for a few days."

Compassion, Adelaide Town Hall, 12 Mar, 7:30, $30-$89 Compassion, UKARIA Cultural Centre, 8-13 Mar, Various times, $40-$55 Lior, The Palais, 10 Mar, 8pm, $69