Achinoam Nini, better known as Noa, was born in Israel in 1969 but grew up in New York. “When I was 17 years old I went back to Israel and I stayed here. At 18 years I served in the military, since it is obligatory for all in Israel. I spent two years doing performances in the Army band, making hundreds of presentations, often in difficult circumstances and in unpleasant conditions.” After finishing military service, it was clear to Noa that she wanted to dedicate herself to music.
Noa enrolled in a music school for a year, where she met her musical partner, Gil Dor. “Gil is not only a great composer, arranger, guitarist,” says Noa, “he is also a great friend.” The influence of Gil in the duo’s songs is diverse, from the contribution to the lyrics and music to the production and arrangements. “Even though I manage to carry out most of the musical creation, Gil is my second wing“.
In her recordings, Noa sings in English, Hebrew and Yemeni. “Being bilingual is a very complicated subject. For example: In what language do you dream? From what root is poetic inspiration born? For me, although I have been living in Israel for many years, the answer is clear, in English. In the same way, my musical tendencies are more Western than Oriental. I’ve been inspired by musicians like Paul Simon, Joni Mitchel, James Taylor and Leonard Cohen, and in geniuses of poetry like E.E. Cummings“.
When asked to describe her music, Noa says she would rather not have to. “I find that descriptions and definitions are very limited. If my music represents my spirit, why should I cage it? I just hope that my songs reach many people and that they inspire and like them.”
Regarding her album Blue Touches Blue, Noa said: “There is a point on the horizon where the sea and the sky come together. A thin line that takes us to the unknown. Living in Israel we see it a lot and it becomes a point where our dreams and hopes come together. What mystery is hidden behind it? What energy hides behind the silence it encompasses? I have always seen blue touching blue and closing against each other, each powerful and beautiful in its own space. The bright blue sky of happiness, the dark blue sea of pain, or the purely rational and the wildly irrational. I think it is from this meeting point from which all creativity is born.”
Noa has collaborated with musicians from around the world, such as Florent Pagny, Eric Serra, Khaled (France), Maurane (Belgium), Juan Mnauel Serrat, Miguel Bosé, Carlos Núñez (Spain), Peter Maffay (Germany), Pino Daniele, Zuchero (Italy), Sting, Donovan (United Kingdom), Pat Metheny, Al DiMeola, Mike Manieri, Stevie Wonder and Santana (United States). She also collaborated with Palestinian musicians, such as Rim Bana and Amal Murkus.
Noa has raised her voice on numerous occasions for peace, including at the Peace Rally in Tel Aviv in 1995 where Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin was assassinated. She also participated in the White House and in Oslo in special concerts in his memory, both requested by President Bill Clinton. “I will I continue to do everything I can to promote peace in Israel and in the world,” she said.
She collaborated frequently with Nabil, a Palestinian singer from the Italian world music group Radiodervish. The friendship between Nabil and Noa became more solid in 2000 and was made important by the delicate political situation in the Middle East. In July 2000 the town council of Melpignano (in the Province of Lecce, Italy) granted to both singers the Honorary Citizenship for the common engagement for peace. In December they received from the United Nations an invitation to sing together in the Duomo of Monreale (Palermo) in front of the Heads of States. The orchestra that accompanied them was directed by Maestro Nicola Piovani (author of the R. Benigni’s soundtrack La Vita è bella).
The year 2001 was possibly the most important year for Noa, as she witnessed the birth of her first child, Ayehli.
In 2002 Noa participated in the Concert of the Three Cultures that took place in Seville, Spain on September 28.
Achinoam Nini and Gil Dor Live (1991)
Achinoam Nini and Gil Dor (1993)
Noa (Geffen Records, 1994)
Calling (Geffen Records, 1996)
Achinoam Nini (1997)
Achinoam Nini & the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (1998)
Blue Touches Blue (Geffen Records, 2000)
First Collection, compilation (2001)
Now (Universal Music, 2002)
Noa Gold, compilation (2003)
Noa Live with the Solis Quartet (Universal Music, 2005)
Napoli-Tel Aviv (2006)
Genes & Jeans (Decca, 2008)
There Must Be Another Way, with Mira Awad (More Management, 2009)
Noapolis – Noa Sings Napoli (Sud Music, 2011)
The Israeli Songbook (More Management, 2011)
Love Medicine (More Management, 2015)
Compilations & other albums
Author: Angel Romero
Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.