Singer Noa performs in Simon Family JCC/ Virginia Art Festival collaboration

by | Mar 22, 2013 | What’s Happening

Tuesday, April 16, 7:30 pm

Noa, or Achinoam Nini, may not be a well-known singer in the United States, but she’s been a huge star in Israel and Europe since she launched her career two decades ago. At 43, she hopes her three-week tour beginning in mid-April will enrich the audiences she performs for in this country.

The Virginia Arts Festival brings Noa to the TCC Roper Performing Arts Center in Norfolk in a performance co-presented with the Simon Family JCC.

Born to a Jewish family of Yemenite descent in Israel, Noa and her family moved to New York when she was a baby, and returned when she was in her late teens. After serving the mandatory two years in the Israeli Army in a military entertainment unit, Noa studied music at the Rimon School, where she met her long-time partner and collaborator Gil Dor. “We worked so well together that he became my John Lennon and I am his Paul McCartney,” she says from her home in Israel.

Noa’s International break came in her mid-twenties, when her album Noa was produced by Pat Methany. The young artist wrote and sang all of the songs on the album with Gil Dor, and the two have made five more international and four Israeli albums. Noa’s music is most prominently influenced by the singer-songwriters of the 1960s, such as Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, and James Taylor. As a duo, she and Dor perform her songs as well as pop, rock, blues, R&B, country, country western, folk, and Yemenite in many different languages on stages all over Israel and Europe.

Since the mid 90’s, Noa has been heavily involved with the peace movement in the Middle East, dedicating a great deal of time to peace related projects and events. In 2009, Noa, together with Arab-Israeli singer Mira Awad, represented Israel at Eurovision Song Contest 2009 with the song There Must Be Another Way.

For her American tour, Noa will be accompanied by Dor, as well as percussionist Gadi Seri and will be joined by a string quartet from New York comprised of Juilliard graduates. “This tour won’t just be me performing my original works,” she says. “It will be based mostly on the songs I grew up on, paying homage to Israeli songs of the mid 20th century, songs from my 2010 album Israeli Songbook.”

“I first heard of Noa when the United Jewish Federation proposed a collaboration back in 1998 during our second season,” says Rob Cross, director of The Virginia Arts Festival. When he researched her music, he was delighted by what he heard. “She was a huge success back then because she performs world music and pop music, and is a huge international talent. It is an honor for us to bring this Jewish cultural treasure back to this area.”

At press time, Noa was preparing for a performance for President Obama during his visit to Israel. She says she looks forward to her less frequent tours in the Unites States. “I want to move hearts and open minds on this tour,” she says. “We all pray in the temple of the God of music.”

For tickets and information, go to vafest. org, call 757-282-2822 or visit the VAF Box Office, 440 Bank Street in Norfolk (M-F, 10am-5pm). For a youtube video of Noa, go to watch?v=8RzhbqVsyc0.

by Leslie Shroyer