Orot (meaning “Lights” in their native language Hebrew), arrived on their Guatemala tour in San Marcos La Laguna and quickly nestled themselves at the Momentom Artist Residency on the shores of Lake Atitlan.
The music of Orot is channeled from the depth of intuitive meditation, rising to ecstasy and celebration before wrapping itself in the simple sensation of unconditional love. Ancient ballads from the Jewish religion combine with a variety of sonic spiritual elements from around the world to present entirely original musical pieces to which you are invited to sing along and explore mutual harmonies.
Arriving to a dance-off at dinner and a community welcome by 42 Momentom residents, they wasted no time dropping into their scheduled show in our signature Circus Castle the next day. Illuminated by the stars overhead San Marcos, they blew the minds of both local and Momentom residents as well as San Marcos tourists, an audience exceeding 95 people.
Orot performs in Momentom’s signature Circus Castle on the shores of Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. Photo by Celeste Veurman.
Momentom has become a hub for movement artists and musicians, with artists and bands from all over the world joining us in residency to either stay in the community or put on a show.
We are both honored and grateful to have hosted the magical auditory musings of Orot.
Gabrielle – co-founder of Momentom Collective – sat with the powerful trio, Orka, Uria, and Ori, of Orot Band to dive into the magic that makes them so incredibly unique.
Can each of you describe yourselves? How do you describe yourselves individually?
Orka – I’m a mother. I’m a very alive and wild being walking the path of life with amazing partners and musicians. I’m a believer in humanity.
Uria – I’m the lead singer of Orot. A devoted family man with two children and an amazing partner. I’m a community person. I believe our essence is in raising consciousness to mutual space. It’s about remembering and reminding that we are the same. We commune together through life. So I’m all about producing sacred journeys and experiences.
Ori – I’m a musician, teacher, and facilitator. I devote my life to the deep exploration of the self and to maximizing authentic expression. I want to inspire and to help others to do the same.
How did you come to be the band Orot?
Orot started when a festival produced by friends connected us (Orka and Uria) for a spiritual show. It was amazing. Then we did another one, and then we split. Each of us going separate ways for travels. Then, Orka met Ori.
We went on stage together for the first time and the feedback was there – BOOM! Everyone came together and we became a family immediately. People just kept inviting us to festivals and gatherings. There was a demand that kept bringing us to perform and perform. So, this is how we grew.
There was a need for a new spiritual group in Israel. Something was happening. We had no plan. We were just kidnapped by the music genre.
So, we made an album in 3 ½ days. Our names all have root word “light,” so we named it Orot.
This demand for you guys to perform in festivals, is it reflective of some kind of global demand?
Yes. The global demand is for community. For getting together. Giving space to the individual is great, but we are tribal beings.
What does community mean to you?
Acknowledging our partnership – throughout some kind of time sequence. It can be a 2-hour time sequence, or it can be a lifetime. The element of community exists in both, whether we are aware of it or not.
Community involves overseeing the illusion of separateness. Individualism and the ego can make us out of balance. We often forget that we all come from the same place. Which is one thing that makes what Momentom is doing here is very inspiring and very rare.
What we are doing is working with COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE. We come from the understanding and the assumption that we as a COLLECTIVE have so much more knowledge than we do as individuals.
The San Marcos Community comes together for Orot’s performance at Momentom Artist Residency in Guatemala. Photo by Celeste Veurman.
I think people come to Orot Circles and are not passive audience members but are active participants. They tap into that, they feel that, and then they’re vibrating. They regain connection. For some people, they have this experience in their daily lives, but for some it’s rare and missing – so this experience could be the peak of their year – this feeling and this connection.
My visions about the future are that we will go back to community. I feel it will be inevitable in a way. I believe we are learning to practice the next level of communicating, which we will need in the future.
These circles are helping me to ease into the collective. To learn it in a way that’s right for me. So, it’s survival in a way.
How do you describe the vibration people leave your circles with?
I think it’s a download that happens very strongly when many people are unified together. It’s very powerful when people come together in general; it’s more powerful when it’s creatively or through singing, and it’s most powerful when we come together in silence. This for me is the strongest experience of coming together.
Photo by Celeste Veurman.
A lot of the people who come are people who practice meditation, or yoga, or sacred plant medicines; and our circles bring this similar energy without substances. It’s MEDICINE without medicine. The doors of perception can open through this experience. We get it a lot. We feel pacha-mama. It’s an experience of remembrance and a ceremonial space for us to connect to ourselves, to each other, and to beyond.
How do we define these miracles with words? Can we?
I don’t know if we can, I think that that’s part of the wonder. Epiphany is a word that I love because it just comes to you. Through walking through life. Sometimes you just know.
It’s like us speaking a language of sensations and emotions and heart. A language that is beyond words. The closest thing that is vocal, is song without words. When we use song without words, we use an international language that everyone can relate to. We can cross any borders and delete any boundaries.
What does circus mean to you?
Uria – Circus means community through celebration of art. Total freedom. Generosity.
Orka – It’s very high form of meditation. It takes playfulness to the next level.
Ori – The Western World has neglected playfulness, as if it’s something just for kids. But playfulness is a BIG stepping-stone and is something we need to cultivate in ourselves. Circus takes this to the next level.
What’s happening in Israel?
There is an enormous concentration of BEAUTIFUL open-minded and open-hearted people in Israel. It’s a dense place and an extreme place. Extremely spiritual and beautiful and enlightened. It’s shaped by the shape of the Earth – where it’s located – between three continents. Physically, it’s very small or condensed. You can move through a lot there in a short period of time, and then reflect upon the self in this way. Things are very much alive. It’s not a simple place to live in. It’s very hard. But it feels like a great privilege to be from there.
I find that art is a bit like a lotus flower, and that often the most difficult places to live in create some of the best art.
On our way here to Guatemala, there was turbulence as the plane was landing. Before that, silence. Once it started, fear comes in, adrenaline comes in. Laughter. Voice. Motion. You could feel the whole plane vibrating. Everything comes to life, right? It landed and everyone was cheering. I give this as a metaphor to life in Israel.
When you’re 18-years-old, you get a gun. You are already conscious enough to know you are part of a war that you may not believe in. But you take part because it’s mandatory and this brings you to LIFE. THIS aliveness is the art of Israel. It’s SO spiritual.
In some ways it can be a catalyst – a FASTER way to AWAKEN.
We used to live in Berlin. What I noticed then was that in Germany, the bottom chakra of survival is so much easier. There is more flow in Germany, as opposed to Israel where everything is tough – money, time, bureaucracy… everybody feels it. In Israel the highest chakras are so open.
In Israel you feel brotherhood and sisterhood is more present, not only for us as Israelis. You can have a very intimate encounter with a stranger without that person needing to be a spiritual person. We see ourselves as responsible for each other, in a way.
What does wisdom mean to you?
Uria – I think it is something that is between us, more than inside of me. It’s something I can channel. Whatever comes through me now belongs to US. It’s doesn’t belong to a person, it flows through a person. It’s not knowledge acquired, it’s my ability to channel the nature of life. And life is intelligent and full of wisdom.
Orka – If things are surface level, people will know.
Orie – As facilitators, we often share honestly and put everything on the table. If we aren’t feeling present we say that, and what it brings is often MORE presence. I will ask an audience to help me there. That honest sharing can bring more presence and supports us all in the same mutual goal.
Which is different from a performance where the show must go on.
Uria – In the circle there is room for the process. There is room for authenticity and the now. It MUST be a process.
We trust the wisdom of this mutual journey to take us through darkness – meeting demons, meeting fears, relaxing into them – and into the light. Allowing that inner process to be seen is powerful. And audience participants are right there in it with us.
I trust. I am always guided and protected. The experience I go through is for my benefit. There is a lot of faith involved.
The circle allows and invites people to experience themselves as they are. You feel comfortable to be yourself, which can be taken for granted in other spaces. If you’re brave enough to let go, by the time this whole thing is over you can really gain something.
Ori – The pearls are down where it’s deep and dark.
What would you tell 15-year-old self?
Orka – Choose love.
Uria – You are guided and protected.
Ori – You can do anything.
Interested in experiencing more of these life-changing, vibration-elevating, soul-touching performances for yourself? Be sure to check out more on our upcoming residencies and take a peak at these 10 insanely talented and inspiring artists you can live with in paradise.