Tell the Sun to Rise

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‘Wake up this morning and tell the sun to rise

Play it your way, make a new start

Put it together, take it apart

Wake up inside, tell the sun to rise’

Rivka Leah Cylich, local songwriter, composer and pianist advocates living life purposefully. She believes that, despite discouragements, people do have a say in their destiny and she intends to reinforce that message through her music. Ms Cylich has put that career on hold so she can write and produce her first album, Silent Prayer.

Rivka has played the piano since she was a small child, but she never considered taking up a musical career. She was trained and worked as an Occupational Therapist, but the death of a closed friend led her to compose and record a song in commemoration.

Historically, music in the Jewish community has had a key role in uplifting the spirits of the weary and the bereaved, so she wrote the song as a way of comforting her friend’s family. She found, however, that the process gave her solace, too. She also found the process very fulfilling.

This tragic beginning would awaken a new direction in her. She put her career on hold so that she could concentrate on composing more music. The result was the album Silent Prayer, a collection of deeply personal songs, which, while they are a statement Rivka’s beliefs and world-view, are also a way of providing inspiration and comfort to others.

The song, Silent Prayer, written for her twin sister when she embarked on an overseas journey, was the first single.

The album was recorded in collaboration with a group of local female artists, and was launched to a capacity crowd at St Martins Youth Arts Centre on the 21st of March 2012. Vocalists included Robin Aron, Taliah Bloom, Paula Brown, Debra Jacobs, Sara Kisilevich, Carmella Lewis, Michelle Max, Zahava Pinson and Laiya Rothberg. It album was produced by Robyn Payne.

The local launch of the album at the Randall Theatre was a ‘women only’ event, as is the custom in traditional Jewish culture. An ensemble of female artists sung the songs that have been reverberating through the Jewish community, and are soon to be launched on i-tunes and Amazon, with feeling and candour.

I spoke to Taliah Bloom, one of the artists on the album, about the experience. She said that working with Rivka was like collaborating with a soul sister. I asked her about the women-only rule at the concert launch of the album in March. Ms Bloom explained that it was for reasons of modesty, but that working and celebrating with other women had its own rewards. She said that women in the Jewish community have a strong network of reciprocity that keeps them tightly connected.

“It is important for women in all walks of life to get together,” Ms Bloom said.

“Women coming together is a really sacred and important thing to be doing. It’s a necessary thing.”

Ms Bloom says that, while the songs have an elevated, Jewish perspective, their themes are universal. They explore personal, family and community experiences.

Local characters, such as bus drivers, mothers and elderly men, are also part of the musical landscape of the album. There is a sense of inclusiveness in the work that reaches out to the broader human experience.

Rivka is also an active member of the Friendship Circle, an organisation set up to support those in the Jewish community who have special needs. It provides practical and emotional support and an opportunity for people to voice their concerns and share their experiences. Proceeds from the concert launch of Silent Prayers went to support the organisation.

“We all come together to have a good time; real love and real equality.” Ms Cylich states.

The chorus on the final song of the album, Our Circle, gives a strong hint of what may be the central philosophy of Silent Prayer:

‘We’re more than we will ever be on our own.’

The album is respite from a chilly world.

By April Forward Nelson

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