Born as Achinoam Nini, Noa is one of the most famous and popular artists in Israel. One look at her biography and you can see where her success comes from.
The singer and mother distinguishes herself by having various influences and a diversified backround. Born in Tel Aviv, roots from Yemen, childhood and youth in the USA she returned to Israel when she was 17. She lives there with her husband and their two children, but she is still globetrotting - her concerts lead her all over the world. Noa is well known in many countries as well as Israel and her popularity is still growing. Her songs are written in English and Hebrew, her melodies use a world language. Via email the 37-year-old Noa answered questions about audiences, peace and her everyday life ...
AVIVA-Berlin: You have performed in so many places all over the world (Brazil, Japan, even the Vatican), what´s left? Where haven´t you given a concert, but really want to?
Noa: I would love to visit and perform in china, India and Africa! I would also like to explore the US more, for the experience of performing for and English-speaking audience who can understand the lyrics of my songs better. And of course, go deeper into Europe, where I have received so much love.
AVIVA-Berlin: On your DVD "Noa and the solis string quartet, live in Israel" you mention that the Israeli audience is the most frightening one. Why do you feel that?
Noa: You are always most deeply scrutinised in your own home, that´s just the way it is.
AVIVA-Berlin: From your experience how do you feel audiences in the world differ?
Noa: The Japanese are very conservative, the Italians loud and happy, the Dutch and Belgians are deep and expressive, the Americans are very attentive to lyrics, the Spanish are very warm and passionate, the French are very politically correct, and the Germans... in the concert hall they lose all their rigidity and explode with emotion.
AVIVA-Berlin: Noa-Music is made for...
Noa: People of heart and mind.
AVIVA-Berlin: In the past you sang for peace together with Arab and Palestinian Artists quite often. I read on your homepage that these projects shall express the "belief in the power of communication". How do you feel about the communication between Israelis and Palestinians (as well as the whole Arab world) nowadays?
Noa: It is definitely not a wonderful time for the peace process, I am very sad to say. Like a virus or a stubborn disease, this is something we are just going to have to live through until it passes...the important thing is that it will pass, and we will find a way to better communicate. I believe in this.
AVIVA-Berlin: In your opinion what has changed since Yitzchak Rabin (the "hope for peace"), was murdered ten years ago?
Noa: Things have gone up and down, lots of down but some up as well: most importantly, the idea of a Palestinian state existing alongside and Israeli state is no longer a novelty or a fantasy. It is a reality! Left and right on both sides know it.
AVIVA-Berlin: In 1999 you sang in Oslo at the anniversary of the Peace Accord which was signed there. The audience included Bill Clinton, Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat. How does it feel to perform in front of these powerful people?
Noa: A great honour, an experience I will always treasure. Especially Clinton, who is one of my personal heroes!
AVIVA-Berlin: Where did your power come from while you were performing there?
Noa: I have no idea ? I was just born with no stage-fright, a lot of principles and a lot of Chutzpah! ?
AVIVA-Berlin: Does this kind of performance differ from singing for a "normal" audience?
Noa: Of course, it is very formal, very respectable and contained, and usually just a few songs. I did my best.
AVIVA-Berlin: Considering Israel´s situation today - what do you think, how it will go on?
Noa: More blood will be shed, time will pass, hopefully, Hamas will lose power, a more communicative government will take over in Gaza, hopefully at the same time our government here in Israel will be also be more inclined to dialogue, and we will start a real, substantial process of recovery and understanding.
AVIVA-Berlin: Is peace possible in your eyes? And how? I´m thinking here of a text that you published on your homepage where you took a very clear position against a cease-fire without conditions in the Lebanon war in the summer of 2006.
Noa: Peace is definitely possible and I have always believed it. My position reflected my aversion for the hypocritical way in which Israel is perceived in Europe, with the help of the warped media. Peace yes, suicide no. I do not want to nail myself to the cross and die for some ideal (a blind CF would be just that). 6 million already did that. Here in modern Israel we want to LIVE, and we are not stupid. At the same time, we want to LIVE IN PEACE.
AVIVA-Berlin: You have co-operated with lots of Palestinians and Arab artists, will you continue this work? And if so - which goals to you want to accomplish?
Noa: I will always be opened to such collaborations. Sadly, a beautiful song I recorded with a Muslim artist in France was stashed by the record company and never released, for fear it might evoke a political reaction. I was very disappointed.
AVIVA-Berlin: What is a "normal" day in your life like?
Noa: Crazy. I get up at 6, get the kids ready for kindergarten, 8 I take them, go to swim/gym, then to the studio or meetings, home again, all afternoon with the kids, then after they sleep, if I don´t have a concert, I write, surf the web and answer mail (like this one), read, spend time with my husband, bake a cake ...and sleep (I sleep 4 hours a night..)
AVIVA-Berlin: What makes you laugh?
Noa: I can´t explain...it´s like love, when it hits you, you know it...
AVIVA-Berlin: What´s your biggest dream?
Noa: Peace in Israel, health for my children, more and better music...
AVIVA-Berlin: Where do you want to be in 5 years from now?
Noa: Here. In a peaceful Israel, with 3 kids (now I have 2..), another 2 albums, and a world tour planned, starting with a concert in Carnegie Hall where my special guests are Paul Simon, Joni Mitchel and James Taylor.
Thank you very much for this interview!
Please also read our review on Noa´s DVD "Noa and the solis string quartet – live in Israel".
For more information about Noa you can visit her website at: www.noasmusic.com/index.asp