If Din Din Aviv never sang again, she’d still own a potent slice of Israeli
folklore. That’s her dulcet tones filling the joyous choruses of the original
version of “Yachad (Shir l’ahava),” the country’s feel-good, new age anthem she
recorded as a member of Gaya in the late 1990s.
A staple of end-of-year
school assemblies, as well as Jewish federation fundraising drives and
birthright mega-events, the song has become a national standard, combining
Kumbaya-friendly ethnic music, where East meets West on a sandy shoreline filled
with love and coexistence.
“It’s a beautiful feeling when I hear ‘Yachad’
used at school ceremonies as some kind of official song,” said the 36-year-old
mother of two this week from her Tel Aviv home. “Its popularity was very
surprising – we never dreamed it would become so big.
But we can’t always
explain why some music is so successful, can we?” Thankfully, Aviv didn’t stop
singing after leaving Gaya, which still performs regularly with founder Gili
Liber. She joined an early version of the Idan Raichel Project, singing lead on
one of Raichel’s big hits, “Im Telech” (If You Leave). The ensemble work led the
way to Aviv’s solo career, which was launched with a bang in 2006 with the album
Sodotai (My Secrets), featuring collaborations with Raichel, and friends like
Mosh Ben-Ari and a pre- “New Soul” Yael Naim, who co-wrote the title
At the time, she told The Jerusalem Post’
s Barry Davis that her
decision to go solo involved a massive leap of self-confidence. “I had a journey
to take before I got to this stage… I suppose I never really knew when to say
‘It’s my turn now.’ It’s taken me a while to feel comfortable about taking
responsibility for the material in an album of my own,” she told Davis in
Four years later, including another album to her credit – 2008’s
Hofshia Ben Olamot
(Free between Worlds) – the veteran singer and percussionist
(whose given name is Dina) has certainly taken on the responsibility for her
material, especially her new show, Olam B’toch Olam (A World inside a World), a
collaboration with the Mayumana multicultural dance and music
“There are going to be reinterpretations of songs from my two
albums, along with songs I’ve performed with Idan Raichel like “Im Telech,” plus
new songs that will be on my next album,” she said of the show, which is
debuting on October 12 at the Mayumana Theater in Tel Aviv.
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And where do
the manic movements of Mayumana come in? “There’s lots of dancing,” she laughed.
“We opened space in the music, and Yael Muller from Mayumana will join me to
fill the spaces with dance.”
Aviv met with Mayumana’s directors Eylon
Nuphar and Boaz Berman and discovered kindred spirits in their willingness to
broaden out her music.
“I was looking for a dance troupe to connect with,
and when we got to Mayumana, it was like ‘Bingo’ – they had the perfect rhythm
Thanks to their contribution, I was able to take my songs that
people have known for many years and bring them to an entirely new place. The
whole show is like a celebration,” she said.
WHILE AVIV is known for her
singing, dance and rhythm have remained passions of hers since her youth when
she studied dance and ballet at the Israel School of Ballet, as well as African
dance, Indian song and tabla playing during a stay in India, and piano and two
years of drum and voice studies at the Rimon School of Music.
It was a
path that Aviv said she felt she had no choice in.
“I always felt like I
was destined to be an artist. It was God’s gift. I felt it burning deep inside
from the beginning. I mostly learned from my parents – that was the real school
for me,” she said, referring to her mother, singer Aliza Aviv and her father, a
It must be hereditary because Aviv bragged about the
rhythmic capabilities shown by her older daughter, five-year-old
“You can tell that she’s already a talented drummer,” she said
proudly, adding that her husband is also a drummer. While the couple
collaborated in the past, Aviv said that they’ve curtailed their professional
relationship for the time being.
“We stopped working together because we
have two young children, and it’s too much to perform two or three times a week,
leaving them with someone.
So we’re separated for now, at least on the
stage,” she said.
Instead, her band consists of the powerhouse talents of
Sharon Petrover on drums, Harel Shahal on clarinet and sax, Yoni Embar and Yaniv
Teichman on guitars, Asaf Hachimi on bass, and Mina Mari on accordion and
vocals, as well as dancer Muller also contributing percussion and
“Our sound is full of women’s voices and harmonies; it’s joyous,”
said Aviv, who said she’s taken the lessons learned from performing the
uplifting music of Gaya and of Raichel to heart.
“It was an amazing,
special time when I was performing with Idan,” she said, adding that she still
occasionally appears in his shows.
“It was like a school of music for me,
teaching things like professionalism,” she said.” He knows how things are
supposed to work, and he does it in the nicest way. The meeting of all those
musical worlds that he brought together is an experience I’ll never
Maybe that’s what Din Din Aviv is referring to when she invites
her audiences to her world inside a world.
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