Noa lim­its

Jen­niFrazer hears the singer sex­ily re­work the Bea­tles. Shame about her English, though

The Jewish Chronicle - - Arts&books 35 -

THERE ARE not many acts, one imag­ines, which can bring Is­raeli am­bas­sador Ron Prosor to his feet, sway­ing, clap­ping and danc­ing with the crowd. But the Idan Raichel Project man­aged just that on Mon­day night at the South Bank’s Queen El­iz­a­beth Hall, when the am­bas­sador joined a ca­pac­ity au­di­ence for a feel­good show of Is­raeli world mu­sic, brought to Lon­don by the Jewish Com­mu­nity Cen­tre for Lon­don and pro­grammed by YaD Arts.

The first half of the pro­gramme be­longed to Noa, a fire­ball of Ye­menite en­ergy whose 15-year col­lab­o­ra­tion with the gui­tarist Gil Dor has pro­vided a fu­sion of Mid­dle East rhythms with jazz and Brazil­ian samba. Bare­foot and with long, swing­ing braided hair, Noa’s set, in English, He­brew and Ara­bic, dipped into her ex­ten­sive back cat­a­logue but was least suc­cess­ful with songs from her new album, Genes and Jeans.

This, she says, is an ex­plo­ration of her Ye­menite past and her up­bring­ing in New York’s Bronx, be­fore she re­turned to Is­rael to join the army and launch her mu­si­cal ca­reer.

But Noa in English sounds flat and dull, with no sense of the ex­cite­ment she brings to singing in He­brew and Ara­bic. By far the most en­joy­able part of her set were her two duets with the Pales­tinian Mira Awad, first in a song writ­ten by Awad and then in a sexy and rev­e­la­tory ver­sion of the Bea­tles’ We­Can Work It Out, which sud­denly as­sumed new res­o­nance against the back­ground of the Is­rael-Pales­tine con­flict.

Idan Raichel, mak­ing his sec­ond ap­pear­ance in Lon­don in as many years, lit up the stage. Raichel and his eclec­tic group of mu­si­cians pro­duce a glo­ri­ous hotch-potch of songs and chants. Wa­grass Vesa, the charis­matic singer from Ad­dis Ababa, and the glam­orous Cabra Casay from Su­dan, wowed the crowd, to­gether with Ira­nian-born Li­tal Gabai. The am­bas­sador liked it all.

Noa: a fire­ball of Ye­menite en­ergy

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