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 47)
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.[1] She is accompanied by guitarist Gil Dor and often plays the conga drums as she sings.[2] Nini represented Israel at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2009 together with singer Mira Awad, with the song "There Must Be Another Way."

Personal life[edit]

Achinoam Nini was born in Bat Yam, Israel, to a Yemenite Jewish family, and moved to New York City at the age of two.[3] She attended the SAR Academy and the Rabbi Joseph H. Lookstein Upper School of Ramaz High School, remaining in New York until her return to Israel alone at the age of 16.[4] She completed 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, Enea 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 having done numerous successful tours in major venues and festivals throughout Europe, the USA, Canada, Brazil and Japan.

Achinoam Nini at the Bardentreffen festival 2014
Noa and Gil Dor at the Bardentreffen festival 2014

Nini has recorded songs in Arabic, English, French, Hebrew, Italian, Spanish, and Yemenite.

Nini and Gil Dor have had various ensembles since their early days as an acoustic duet but their longest lived musical relationship has been with the noted percussionist Zohar Fresco, with the three having played hundreds of concerts together all over the world. Nini and Dor's ensembles vary from album to album , ranging from collaborations with bands such as Solis String Quartet to tours with symphonic orchestras.

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 Nini's Yemenite roots and Dor's strong background in jazz, classical, country and rock, have created Nini and Dor's unique sound audible through hundreds of songs written and performed by the duo. Nini 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 closing event of the International Year of the Family at the Vatican, Rome, Italy, witnessed by Pope John Paul II.

Nini and Dor have performed on numerous occasions with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. They recorded an album together during a live performance at Tel Aviv's Mann Auditorium in 1997. Over the years their symphonic projects have multiplied, including concerts with symphonic orchestras from Lille, Messina, Parma, Murcia, and Florence. In September 2003, Nini performed a song entitled L'isola della Luce (after the Greek island on which it was performed) which was 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, Nini and Awad represented their country at the Eurovision Song Contest 2009 with the song "There Must Be Another Way", qualifying for 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.

Studio albums[edit]

  • Achinoam Nini and Gil Dor (September 1993)
  • Noa (March 1994)
  • Calling (May 1996)
  • Achinoam Nini (April 1997)
  • Blue Touches Blue (March 2000)
  • Now (September 2002)
  • Genes & Jeans (April 2008)
  • Noapolis - Noa Sings Napoli (February 2011)
  • The Israeli Songbook (March 2011)
  • Love Medicine (2015)

Live albums[edit]

  • Achinoam Nini and Gil Dor Live (July 1991)
  • Achinoam Nini & the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (April 1998)
  • Noa Live - DVD/Double CD with the Solis Quartet (October 2005)
  • Napoli-Tel Aviv (September 2006)

Compilations & other albums[edit]

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


  • Mishaela (Be'eineiha) (1992)
  • Uri (Akara) (1992)
  • He (Boi Kala) (1993)
  • Nocturno (Keren Or) (1993)
  • I Don't Know (1994)
  • Ave Maria (1994)
  • Wildflower (1995)
  • Child of Man (1995)
  • U.N.I (1996)
  • Too Proud (1996)
  • Lama (1996)
  • Mark of Cain (1996)
  • By the Light of the Moon (1996)
  • Vivre (1997)
  • Nanua (1997)
  • Mushrooms (Pitriot) (1997)
  • But Love (Aval Ahava) (1997)
  • Babel (1999)
  • One Becomes Two (1999)
  • Beautiful That Way (2000)
  • If I Give You Everything (2000)
  • The Beauty of That (2000)
  • Again and Again (Otra Vez) (2001)
  • Eye in the Sky (2002)
  • We (2002)
  • Now Forget (2003)
  • Shalom, Shalom (2003)
  • Dreamer (2008)
  • Genes & Jeans (2008)
  • There Must Be Another Way (2008)
  • Someone Out There (Yesh Ey Sham) (2011)
  • There Were Nights (Hayu Leilot) (2011)
  • Autumn Wind (Ruach Stav) (2011)
  • Lullabye (Shir Eres) (2011)
  • Nothing But a Song (2014)


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 Gerard 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]

Noa is known in Israel for her left-wing political views and has been criticized for being an "Israel hater," having slandered 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]

Noa has performed at Israel Independence Day celebrations in London[12] and Vancouver.[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 Archived December 29, 2013, at the Wayback Machine. Jewish Independent, July 8, 2011
  5. ^ Life is Beautiful Archived November 5, 2016, at the Wayback Machine.
  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". YouTube. 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'[permanent dead link] By Yaniv Kubovich and Dafna Arad, Haaretz,
  13. ^ "Israel to Fund Achinoam Nini's Show in Canada After JNF Pulls Out Over BDS Claims". Retrieved 29 September 2016. 

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