Steve Jones interviews Noemi Liba. DB magazine, Adelaide, Australia I first heard Noemi Liba perform around twelve years ago when she sang a few numbers at the SA State Folk Festival during what’s known as a blackboard session, a forum where artists chalk up their names in order to take turns at the mic. After managing to procure myself an acoustic demo CD, the then young singer/songwriter simply disappeared from Adelaide; alternating her time between Melbourne, the US, and her ancestral homeland of Israel. Fast forward to early 2005, and on the off-chance that my telephone number had remained the same, Liba excitedly reacquaints herself; only this time she’s eager to tell of her debut official release, ‘Freefall’, before jetting off again to Europe and the Middle East for a six week jaunt to help consolidate a few musical leads. "The music that I write has an unusual alternative core," she proffers as a base description, "which, I don’t mean by the alternative music scene but rather structurally looking at alternative forms to the ‘verse, verse, chorus, verse, chorus’ form. There’s a couple of tracks that have things like choruses in them, but I guess I’m trying to appeal more to the direct sensual experience of sound and emotion. So to me, it’s more akin to an art form rather than just writing a song. It’s almost like the friend who paints a painting or takes a photograph, it’s a sensual experience of art rather than a structural one." Undertaking advanced formal studies in jazz, and having sought out the teachings of Iraqi master woodplayer, violinist and composer Yair Dalal, and former Frank Zappa pianist, Allan Zavod (who has been quoted as saying that Liba is, "One of Australia’s true innovative talents"), she has taken a year away from the classroom and has been concentrating on putting what she’s learnt into practice. "I’m also quite interested in doing arrangements," she adds, "so I’ve arranged all the strings on the CD. Again, arranging my music back as an art form is not just about communicating songs but I also want to paint all the colours in. So to learn how to do that I need to grab all those different skills from certain people and then I take them home and make them my own. "As for my influences, I was singing Middle Eastern music for a few years in different ensembles, some were more traditional while others had a bit of a trance space and more of a jazz ethic by using a lot of improvisation with a club beat behind it. "For me, the whole musical journey has been exciting as I feel like I’m always changing and growing and spreading my wings. Over the years I think I’ve always been developing and always learning, and this CD is a lot more sophisticated than anything I’ve done. It’s a lot more complete and I’d written all the arrangements and worked with an amazing producer on it, so by going overseas with a product such as this it’s very clear to people the direction I’m going in. I think I’ve stepped a little bit out of the singer-songwriter/guitar base where I started, and I think I needed to do that." Steve Jones