Today's Building Hours
  • Rosenbloom Owings Mills JCC
    5:30am - 6:00pm
  • Weinberg Park Heights JCC
    5:30am - 5:30pm
Shabbat Candle Lighting: 7:31pm
Join the J Locations Schedules
Today's Building Hours
  • Rosenbloom Owings Mills JCC
    5:30am - 6:00pm
  • Weinberg Park Heights JCC
    5:30am - 5:30pm
Shabbat Candle Lighting: 7:31pm

Israeli Singer/Superstar Noa (Achinoam Nini) returns!

Twenty years ago, Noa (Achinoam Nini), Israel's leading international singer/songwriter performed at The Gordon’s very first opening night celebration.

Since then, Noa has shared her magnetic stage presence with superstars such as Sting, Pat Metheny, Stevie Wonder, Andrea Bocelli and many more. Together with her collaborator Gil Dor, Noa has released over 15 albums which have sold millions. Noa sings in six languages, has collaborated with symphony orchestras around the world, and has performed in the world’s most prestigious venues, including the White House.

On Saturday, February 6, we are thrilled to welcome Noa back to the Gordon!

Noa’s strongest influences come from the singer-songwriters of the 60s, like Paul Simon and Joni Mitchell. These musical and lyrical sensibilities, combined with Noa‘s Yemenite roots and Gil Dor‘s strong background in Jazz and Rock, have created Noa and Gil‘s unique sound, manifested in hundreds of songs written together.

We recently corresponded with Noa, and she was so full of energy and wisdom! Read for yourself.

What do you strive for when giving a performance? What is at the core of how you perform?
Noa: I will quote Joni Mitchell in saying I try to be "a woman of heart and mind." I reach out to the audience and truly strive to give them a meaningful and emotional experience, visceral and cerebral. I take my music very seriously. It is almost akin to religion for me.

I do not sing anything I do not love. Most of my songs are those I have created myself, and I am very selective. With non-original material, I will only perform a song I wish I would have written myself.

One of the most important elements in my performance is the long standing artistic relationship with Gil Dor, who has been my musical director and collaborator for 25 years. Gil is an incredible musician, whether in writing, arranging, brainstorming, recording or performing. Gil is the perfect accompanist too, and when we play together, a rare and unique musical resonance is created.

What kind of music do you and Gil like to play the most – jazz, pop, blues – your influences seem so wide and varied?
Noa: Our music defies style and/or categorization. I like the Duke Ellington quote: "There are only two types of music, good or bad"-- we try to fall on the good side.

You have also dedicated your life to fighting for peace?
Noa: In 1995, I was asked to perform in the Peace Rally being organized by the Tel Aviv municipality to support Yitzchak Rabin and Shimon Peres as they embraced the Oslo Accords and seemed poised to navigate Israel to the coveted Peace we all dream of.  I agreed happily, and sang with great Joy to an audience of hundreds of thousands who came, like me, to support the cause. Tragically, this event ended with the murder of Yitzchak Rabin.

I never recovered from that fateful night, nor has my country. I made a decision the very next morning, to dedicate much of my time and energy to continuing in the footsteps of Rabin: working indefatigably for peace, in every way I can, even if that means sacrificing something of my well-being and success.

I have done so since. I have made statements, given interviews, volunteered for organizations whose agenda supports dialogue and co-existence, and put myself unambiguously in the peace camp.

Why am I doing all this? It is clear that such activity carries a price, and I have paid it on numerous occasions. There are many who resent an artist taking any political stance. Actually, I should say, entertainer, as people often confuse these two terms. People who perceive art as entertainment do not want to be reminded of reality in any way by those whose job, in their eyes, is to create an illusionary world for them and "massage" their egos. Furthermore,  People who disagree with me can get very upset, to the extent of tangible violence, verbal and physical, and I have experienced it all.

You have been compared to many musical greats -- Barbara Streisand, Joan Baez, and Joni Mitchell – have you met these performers and what is it like to share the world stage with them?
Noa:  I love those three amazing women. I have never met Barbara Streisand personally though I dream to. I did once meet Joni Mitchell briefly at a party in LA, and had the chance to get down on one knee, trembling, and tell her what a huge influence she has had on my life. Joan Baez I had the honor of meeting several times. We opened for her years ago in Florida, and I remember looking back at one point during the show and seeing her, sitting Indian style on the floor in back of us, just listening. I was so thrilled! 

You performed for Pope John Paul the 2nd at the Vatican – what was that encounter like?
Noa: it was a beautiful and exciting moment, not only for us, but for the Jewish people and the state of Israel, because it was the first time any Jewish or Israeli artists had been invited to perform in the Vatican. We performed our version of the beautiful Bach/Gunod Ave Maria, a prayer for peace crossing the borders of religion, for an audience of 150,000 in St Peter's square.

There were some Jews, in Israel and abroad, that objected to our performance, but the vast majority were, and remain, distinctly proud of this unique event. As Pope John Paul, who was a great lover of Israel, used to say, one of the keys to world peace lies in the communication and reconciliation between Judaism and Christianity.  

You perform with a lot of Arab performers and are very active in many organizations in which Jews and Arabs meet to share knowledge, music and art?
Noa: Communication is the name of the game, any way it can be achieved. We all know, fear is mitigated by knowledge, and communication helps us to attain knowledge, especially the kind that can accentuate how much we have in common.

Art is an excellent means of communication. It goes deep down, hands in the mud, seeking roots and origins, probing  guts and touching on the deepest places in the soul, including  fears and secrets, but also dreams, hopes and passions, and then at the same time, flies high up above it all, where the air is clean and the physical and metaphysical  landscape unfolds, borderless and glorious.

What are you thinking about as you get ready for your first Gordon performance in twenty years?
Noa: I am thinking what I always think, before any concert, big or small, Carnegie Hall or a friend's living room: how to be as absolutely excellent as I possibly can, on all levels.

What do you want to say to your Baltimore fans about your return?
Noa: Simply, please join us! We missed you.