It’s 10.30 am when I arrive in the lobby of the Sonesta hotel in Amsterdam for an interview with Noa. The Isrealean singer who had reached world fame with the song “Beautiful that way” for the Roberto Benigni’s Oscar award-winning film ‘Life is beautiful’. At the time she had just released her album Now on which most songs reflect the period in which she became a mother. Noa is late, because she is still busy taking care of the little boy.
I wait patiently for the moment she will enter the lobby. Than suddenly the door opens. There she is, her long curly hair hanging loose around her shoulders. When she smiles a gap between her teeth reveals itself. “Sorry”, she says, “but little children don’t fit into time-schedules. Once seated in her chair, she starts talking with enthusiasm about her music and her new life.
She is in Amsterdam to promote her album Now. “It’s my best album so far.”, she says. “Why? Because it is very pure. It reflects my own development as a human being. The fact that I became a mother, has changed my life. Some of my uncertainties have disappeared. I’ve become more flexible.”
You are learning to stand
I am learning to fall.
During a large European tour that same year, Noa performed in Carre a renowned theater in the Dutch Capitol.
If she still enjoys going from town to town? “I’ve learned to appreciate it in the right way. It gives me the opportunity to meet all kinds of people and discover interesting places. Since the birth of my child, I also see a city through his eyes. Like ‘Is there a zoo? Is the place child friendly?’ Those are the things I think of first.”
She loves Amsterdam. “I love to walk around in this town. It is a place in which you never have the feeling that it is too busy. I hear people complain here that it is such a densely populated country. Israel has less inhabitants but it gives me more the idea of a busy place. In Amsterdam there seems to be a kind of ‘calmness’ in the air. At least that is how I feel it. ”
Noa was the first female artist from Israel that ever performed in the Vatican. “I sang Ave Maria. “Not the religious song, but my own composition. We actually crossed every possible boundary, there in the Vatican. Me as a Jewish woman, who sang a profane version of Ave Maria. A song which first line is: ‘Ave Maria, where have you been hiding.‘
At the Concert for Peace in the Roman Colosseum, earlier that year, Noa performed together with Cheb Khaled (the Algerian king of Rai Music) “Cheb was criticized in the Arabian world for singing with a Jewish woman. Sometimes people forget that we are humans, individuals, that we create art and want to bring peace in our own way. We are musicians, we do not represent the politics of a country.” On the album Now, Noa also sings a duet with Mira Awad a singer from Palestina. It’s a cover from the Beatles classic ‘We can work it out’. “Performing together, give people hope.” Years later the two singers represented Israel during the Eurovision song contest with the song ‘There must be another way‘.
Noa website: https://www.noasmusic.com
Interviews in retrospect
A serie of interviews I did during the last two decades.