“Kids’ days go so slow, and when do grown-ups ever get to play with Lego?” Such is the wisdom of nine-year-old Edgar, a boy who overcame illness and hospitalisation, and who wrote the lyrics to Edgar’s Essay, the first track on Hush 16: A Piece of Quiet.
The album is the 16th production by the Hush Foundation, an Australian charity transforming the culture of healthcare through the arts. Hush albums are full of music composed to reduce stress and anxiety felt by children in hospitals, as well as their families and hospital staff.
The latest album is a collaboration between ARIA award-winning singer songwriter Lior, a capalla group The Idea of North and composer Elena Kats-Chernin. Sick kids in hospital wards were asked by the collaborators to answer questions – some fun, some serious – and the answers formed the basis for the lyrics. In Edgar’s case, they’re a direct quote.
Lior says, “The responses we got were so full of humour and wisdom. It was so much fun collecting these beautiful answers and writing music to them.”
The music is catchy and heartfelt, with classical, jazz, and indie influences. There are orchestral pieces like Pitter Patter, and songs like Sticks and Stones where Lior’s smooth vocals are perfectly complemented by the harmonies of The Idea of North.
Lior says, “We had collaborated before – Naomi from The Idea of North wrote a beautiful arrangement of my song This Old Love – and we performed it at a charity event. We always thought, we should work together again, so when this opportunity came up, it seemed like a great chance to finally sink our teeth into something together.”
For Lior, an album like this has been a long time coming. “The most seminal album of my life came out when I was three. It’s called The Sixteenth Sheep, and it was recorded by the leading songwriters in Israel at the time. It’s a series of narrations about a kid trying to fall asleep. He’s counting sheep and never gets past the sixteenth one. It captured my imagination and I always wanted to be involved in the making of an album with a similar concept.”
The Hush Foundation is an Australian registered charity (DGR1) and donates their music to children’s hospitals across the country and around the world.