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By the waters of Babylon we sat down and wept … As for our harps, we hanged them up upon the trees that are therein. For they that led us away captive required of us then a song, saying “Sing us one of the songs of Sion” “How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?”Many composers have set this heart-wrenching text, telling of the exile of a people from their homeland. JS Bach sets the poem as a solemn hymn, Palestrina as a multi-voiced motet.The text is no less potent in the 21st century than it was in 500 BCE.The Australian Chamber Choir has commissioned Australian composers, Luke Hutton and Tom Henry to write new works for this program. The disruption of the ancient harmony between Australia’s First Peoples and their country, followed by centuries of immigration from every part of the globe, makes dislocation and yearning for lost homeland an abiding theme in Australian art and literature. Yet within our culture, a synthesis of many traditions, Australian artists find fresh and distinctive ways to ‘sing the Lord’s song’.