Achinoam Nini

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Achinoam Nini
Achinoam Nini.jpg
Noa (2012)
Background information
Birth name Achinoam Nini
Also known as Noa
Born (1969-06-23) June 23, 1969 (age 46)
Origin Tel Aviv, Israel
Genres Pop, world, Hebrew, jazz, blues
Occupation(s) Singer
Years active 1990–present
Labels NMC, Geffen Records, Universal Records
Associated acts Pat Metheny
Website Official website

Achinoam Nini (Hebrew: אחינועם ניני; Aẖinóʻam Nini; born June 23, 1969; known outside of Israel as Noa), is an Israeli singer of Yemenite background.[1] She is accompanied by guitarist Gil Dor and often plays the conga drum as she sings.[2] Nini represented Israel at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2009 jointly with singer Mira Awad, with the song "There Must Be Another Way."


Achinoam Nini was born in Bat Yam to a Yemeni-Jewish family. She lived in New York City from age 2.[3] She attended SAR Academy and the Rabbi Joseph H. Lookstein Upper School of Ramaz High School, and remained in New York until her return to Israel alone at the age of 16.[4] She did her mandatory service in the Israel Defense Forces performing with a military entertainment troupe.[5]After her release she studied music at the Rimon School of Jazz and Contemporary Music in Ramat Hasharon, where she met her long-time partner and collaborator Gil Dor.

Nini is married to Asher Barak, a pediatrician. They have three children, Ayehli, Eyneha and Yum.

Music career[edit]

Nini has performed in Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall in New York City, Olympia in Paris, Rome's Colosseum, The Barbican in London, Zellerbach Auditorium in Berkeley, California, the Ravinia Festival in Chicago, the Montreux Jazz Festival and Paleo Music festival in Switzerland, Palau de la Musica in Barcelona, the North Sea Jazz Festival and Carre Auditorium in the Netherlands and the Stockholm Water Festival in Sweden, as well as numerous successful tours of major venues and festivals throughout Europe, the USA, Canada, Brazil and Japan.

Noa has recorded songs in Arabic, English, French, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Spanish, Thai and Yemenite.

Noa and Gil Dor have had various ensembles since their early days as an acoustic duet but their most long lived musical relationship has been with the noted percussionist Zohar Fresco. The three have played hundreds of concerts together all over the world. The ensembles vary from album to album ranging from rhythm section through Solis String Quartet and up to symphonic tours.

Nini's music is most prominently influenced by the singer-songwriters of the 60s, such as Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, and James Taylor. These musical and lyrical sensibilities, combined with Noa's Yemenite roots and Gil Dor's strong background in jazz, classical, country and rock, have created Noa and Gil Dor's unique sound, manifested in hundreds of songs written and performed together. Noa plays percussion, guitar and piano.

Achinoam Nini performing at the opening of the Peres Institute for Peace

In 1994, Nini performed the English version of Ave Maria for a live audience of 100,000 and a TV audience of millions at the culmination event of the International Year of the Family at the Vatican, Rome, Italy, witnessed by Pope John Paul II.

Nini and Gil Dor have performed on numerous occasions with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. They recorded an album with them during a live performance at Tel Aviv's Mann auditorium in 1997. Over the years their symphonic projects have multiplied, including concerts with Symphony Orchestras from Lille, Messina, Parma, Murcia, Firenze Symphony. In September 2003, she performed a vocal work entitled L'isola della Luce (after the Greek island on which it was performed) written by Nicola Piovani especially for her. The work was commissioned by the Cultural Olympics Committee in Athens. In May 2004, the duo performed with the Israeli rhythm and dance troupe Mayumana between the two final games of the Euroleague basketball championship.

Together with Arab-Israeli singer Mira Awad, represented her country at Eurovision Song Contest 2009 with the song "There Must Be Another Way", qualifying to the final from the first semi final and eventually finishing in 16th place.[6]


  • In 1999 Noa was honored with the "Crystal Award" by the "World Economic Forum" in Davos, Switzerland, where she performed together with Palestinian artists and participated in numerous panels dealing with peace in the Middle East and the role of art and artists towards bringing it about.
  • In 2000, the mayor of Melpignano, Italy, awarded honorary citizenship to Noa and Nabil Salameh, Palestinian singer songwriter with Michele Lobaccaro of the group "Radiodervish", for their activity for peace.
  • On April 3, 2005, Noa became the first woman to receive the medal of the "Galileo Galilei" order from the "Grand Orient", the Italian arm of the Freemasons organization.
  • On August 7, 2005, Noa received the "Gemona Seminar" prize for artistic excellence and her contribution to peace and understanding.
  • Noa won the "Critics' Award" at the 56th Sanremo Music Festival in Italy, appearing with the Solis String Quartet[7] and Carlo Fava.[8]


Over the span of their 24-year career together, Gil and Noa have written and produced 3 hugely successful Israeli albums: Achinoam Nini and Gil Dor Live, Achinoam Nini and Gil Dor (also known as Rachel and Leah), and Achinoam Nini. Their five international albums are, Noa (produced by Pat Metheny) and Calling (produced by Rupert Hine) for Geffen Records, Blue Touches Blue (produced by Mike Hedges) for Mercury Records, Now (produced by Gil Dor & Yoad Nevo) and Genes & Jeans (produced by Gil Dor) for Universal Music. In addition, Noa has recorded a live album with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, and a live CD and DVD with The Solis String Quartet. There are also various compilations available.

International albums[edit]

  • Noa (March 1994)
  • Calling (May 1996)
  • Blue Touches Blue (March 2000)
  • Now (September 2002)
  • Genes & Jeans (April 2008)
  • Love Medicine (2015)

Israeli albums[edit]

  • Achinoam Nini and Gil Dor (September 1993)
  • Achinoam Nini (April 1997)
  • Achinoam Nini & the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (April 1998)
  • Napoli-Tel Aviv (September 2006)
  • The Israeli Songbook (March 2011)

Live albums[edit]

  • Achinoam Nini and Gil Dor Live (July 1991)
  • Noa Live - DVD/Double CD with the Solis Quartet (October 2005)

Compilations & other albums[edit]

  • First Collection (March 2001)
  • Noa Gold (October 2003)
  • There Must Be Another Way - with Mira Awad (2009)
  • Noapolis - Noa Sings Napoli (February 2011)


In 1998, Noa recorded the part of Esmeralda in French for the original soundtrack of the multi-Platinum selling "Notre Dame de Paris", but decided not to play the role in the musical on stage. Her song "Babel", written in English, French and Hebrew as theme song for the Gerarad Pullicino movie of the same name, topped the charts in France the following year.

Noa collaborated with French composer Éric Serra on two songs for film: "The Experience of Love" from the James Bond film GoldenEye, and the song "My Heart is Calling" from the Luc Besson film "The Messenger."

In 2000, Noa recorded the theme song "La vita è bella" of the film "Life Is Beautiful", Roberto Benigni's Oscar award-winning film. Noa also wrote the lyrics to the song now titled "Beautiful That Way", together with lyricist Gil Dor. The song was recorded and released with the album Blue Touches Blue, and also appears on the soundtrack to the film as well as on her album Noa Gold in two versions.

Duets and collaborations[edit]

Noa has toured and sung with rock superstar Sting, performed her song Child of man with Stevie Wonder for a CBS TV special in the United States, and shared the stage and microphone with many well-known artists, including Andrea Bocelli, Carlos Santana, Sheryl Crow, George Benson, Johnny Clegg, Zucchero, Peter Maffay, Pino Daniele, Rita, Massimo Ranieri, Florent Pagny, Jean Jacques Goldman, Khaled, Amine, Lokua Kanza, Jorge Drexler, Joan Manuel Serrat, Mira Anewr Awad, Meir Banai, Miguel Bosé, Donovan, Maurane, Éric Serra, Pascal Obispo, Patrick Bruel, Mike Mainieri, Chava Alberstein, Gil Dor, Nini Band, Solis String Quartet, Al Di Meola, Carlos Núñez,[9] Lara Fabian, Bustan Abraham and George Dalaras.

FAO ambassador[edit]

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations FAO is a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. FAO was founded on October 16, 1945 in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. The FAO Goodwill Ambassadors Programme was initiated in 1999. On 16 October 2003, Noa was nominated Goodwill Ambassador of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Political views[edit]

She is known in Israel for her left-wing political views and has been attacked as a 'Israel hater', having criticized Israel as 'a fascist state' after a left-wing teacher was questioned by school officials for trying to persuade students not to join the Israeli army.[11]

Her political views have led to concert cancellations in Israel, with claims that she is 'anti-Zionist', that she rejects.[12]

She supported Tzipi Livni during Israel's legislative elections in 2013.[13]


  1. ^ Birchmeier, Jason. "Biography: Achinoam Nini". Allmusic. Retrieved April 9, 2010. 
  2. ^ "A little bit of Berklee in Tel Aviv". The Boston Globe (HighBeam Research). December 6, 1992. 
  3. ^ "Noa's biography". Archived from the original on November 17, 2011. Retrieved November 29, 2011. 
  4. ^ Still optimistic about peace Jewish Independent, July 8, 2011 Archived December 29, 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Life is Beautiful
  6. ^ "Arab-Jewish singing duo go to Eurovision on sour note". jWeekly. May 7, 2009. Retrieved June 17, 2009. 
  7. ^ "Bio". April 20, 2007. Retrieved November 29, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Carlo Fava - Official site". Archived from the original on September 28, 2011. Retrieved November 29, 2011. 
  9. ^ "A lavandeira da Noite / Noa & Carlos Nunez". ppYouTube]]. June 29, 2007. Retrieved March 29, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Noa biography". Archived from the original on September 28, 2011. Retrieved November 29, 2011. 
  11. ^ Singer Achinoam Nini says she was threatened at airport, called 'Israel-hater' By Yaniv Kubovich and Dafna Arad, Haaretz,
  12. ^ אחינועם ניני: "מפעל חיים לאריאל זילבר - הפניית עורף לאחריות ציבורית Dana Weiss | News 2 | Posted 06/22/14 07:37
  13. ^ תקווה תנצח: אחינועם ניני וסטף ורטהיימר מאמינים on YouTube

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
with The Fire In Your Eyes
Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest
(with Mira Awad)
Succeeded by
Harel Ska’at
with Milim