Israel: Noa talks peace, performing and the Israeli Songbook

by Alex Noone 116 views

Israeli artist Noa talks about her most recent album ahead of her performance later this month in Los Angeles.

The artist, who represented her country at the Eurovision Song Contest 2009, is to appear with her song-writing partner, the guitarist Gil Dor, at the Geller Festival of the Arts on June 18 at the city’s American Jewish University. Audience members can expect to hear the pair perform songs from the Israeli Songbook, the album recorded by Noa and Gil Dor to mark the twentieth anniversary of their creative partnership.

Released in 2011, the Israeli Songbook is a collection of Hebrew songs performed by Noa and Gil Dor together with the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. They’re songs that have had a great impact on the Israeli psyche and Israeli culture, said Noa when she spoke recently to the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles to promote the forthcoming concert. Musically, the compositions are really beautiful, and the lyrics are the highest form of Hebrew poetry that exists.

For the concert in Los Angeles, Noa and Gil Dor’s performances of the songs will be accompanied by a quartet. I’ve been performing [these songs] all over the world, and people are very intrigued by and fall in love with them, Noa told the Journal. Indeed, following her performance in California, Noa will embark on a tour that starts in Herzeliya, Israel on 23 June, and includes dates in France, Spain and Belgium throughout July and August.

Although her home is now in Israel, Noa’s family moved to New York when she was a child, and she lived there until she was 16. She has been outspoken as a peace activist during her career, and told the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles how disappointed she is by the decision of some musicians to avoid performing in Israel. She said: Turning your back on Israel and not playing here plays directly into the hands of the extremists, [because] people say, “You see, everybody hates us, nobody wants to come here. Let’s be more defensive. Let’s build more walls. Let’s be more protective of what we have.” Rather than [being] more embracing, more open to the international community and to international humanistic values. Not coming here is making the situation much, much worse.

When asked why she has been so vocal about issues of peace in her country and at the world at large, Noa’s answer was simple. It’s the responsibility of every human being who wants to live in peace to work for it, she explained. You can’t expect people to do the work for you. … I’m a singer, so I sing for peace. I think whoever can do something, should.

Noa represented Israel at the Eurovision Song Contest 2009 in Moscow alongside the country’s first ever Arab-Israeli contestant, Mira Awad. The duo’s song, There must be another way, was written by Noa and her long-time collaborator, Gil Dor. It finished in 16th position at the grand final of the competition.

Watch Noa at the final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2009 here –

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