7 June 1996

Article about Noa on The Daily Mississipian

At first, I was wary of Noa's second Geffen release, "Calling," because I was not sure that I would enjoy the Israeli-American sound that she has undertaken. But after one listen I was hooked, mainly because she can really sing.

Noa is an Israeli who grew up in the Bronx who sings in English. Although the majority of the album does not deal with lighthearted topics, that just strengthens it. Discussing the effects from the war in Bosnia, the Dalai Lama and suicide bombers in Tel Aviv can be difficult to pull off, but Noa manages to get her message across and capture her audience all with a quality sound.

Some tracks are not quite as heavy, such as "Too Painful", which is about not being able to learn from past experiences. Lyrics include "Still like a child/ Drawn to the flame/Never know why I do/ Passion will rise above wisdom".

Also, "Calling Home" is a reworked Pat Metheny song about missing someone you love.
"Calling" has a pop rock sound mixed with Middle Eastern rhythms in the back that make it very unique, and it is great to mellow out to. Track three "By the Light of the Moon" even has an almost 1970's leisure suit funky feel to it.

The thing that I liked about "Calling" was the various ways that the songs could be interpreted. At first glance, "All is Well" appears to be about a couple who are living in a dull routine, but it is about Noa's reaction to the suicide bombings in Israel and the people who go on with their lives in order to make everything appear normal.

The album ends with "Cascading," probably the lightest song, about trying to forget about everything and just get away.
A few interesting facts about Noa include that she left New York at seventeen to go back to Israel. Once there, she was in the military for two years. After that, she paired up with Gil Dor and they have been partners since 1990.

In 1994, Noa sang "Ave Maria" at the Vatican before 100,000 people, including Pope John Paul II and Mother Theresa. She is also very popular in Japan, Spain, Holland, and France.
I definitely recommend this album for everyone who is sick of all the music out there that sounds exactly the same. Noa is a stroke of red on a gray canvas.

Friday, June 7, 1996 © 1996-1997 The Daily Mississippian (By Rebecca J. Lauck Entertainment Editor)

More info at www.noasite.net Noa's Museum:

5 June 1996

Noa's concert in Evanston (USA)

Israeli Singer Noa Hasn't Forgotten Her Bronx Roots
Culture Crossover ARTS WATCH. Music review.

The Bronx-raised Israeli singer Noa makes music balanced between East and West, traditional and modern, reverence and razzle-dazzle.

These competing and occasionally conflicting qualities were evident Monday evening at Northwestern University's Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, as Noa performed for a near-capacity crowd of almost one thousand that ranged in age from undergraduates to gray-haired audience members old enough to be their grandparents.

Born Achinoam Nini, Noa emigrated from the U.S. when she was 17 and has embraced the music of her homeland. On "Mishaela" and "Pines," she set beautifully wafting Middle Eastern melodies to the Hebrew lyrics of songwriting partner Gil Dor and Israeli poet Leah Goldberg, caressing them with her gentle, crystalline soprano.

Noa also drew on her family's roots in the sub-Saudi Arabian nation of Yemen on "Uma," her most stunning vocal turn of the evening. Singing a capella in Yemen, her open palm beating time on her breastbone, she unleashed towering melodic lines in a keening, vibrato-rich timbre.

Although Noa's English-language material incorporated elements of Middle Eastern music, it leaned more toward an amalgam of light jazz and acoustic pop balladry. Occasionally playing electric guitar or percussion, Noa and her band--acoustic guitarist Dor, percussionist Zohar Fresco and bassist Nir Graff--crafted impeccably elegant settings for bright melodies that turned and bent on themselves.

"I Don't Know" recalled Anita Baker's brand of quiet storm, while the acoustic dance groove, shifting melody lines and intimate vocal of "By the Light of the Moon" suggested the singer has spent time listening to recent Joni Mitchell records.

Noa's enthusiasms also extend to classic musicals, which she acknowledged by wordlessly incorporating the chorus of "Maria" from "West Side Story," into an otherwise too-long instrumental duet with Dor. This influence was evident as well in her penchant for dramatic vocal crescendos that would do Barbara Streisand proud, but too often seemed like self-indulgent showboating.

At various points during her 20-song performance, Noa tried to merge these different styles into a whole. "Manhattan-Tel Aviv" intriguingly contrasted her past and present homes, shifting between streetwise verses, martial choruses, and Middle Eastern interludes like a Broadway number.

Other attempts, like the rock-flavored "He," lacked both the emotional richness of her Mid-Eastern-rooted material and melodic buoyancy of her Western-based pop. While Noa understandably tried to integrate the divergent aspects of her life and art, she was at her best when she let them exist separately, side-by-side.

June 05, 1996|By Kevin McKeough. Special to the Tribune.