An invitation to Din Din

Singer Din Din Aviv teams up with the Mayumana dance troupe in a new show that promises some very entertaining fare.

Din Din Aviv 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Din Din Aviv 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
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 track.
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 2006.
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 troupe.
“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.
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 and vibe.
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 jazz musician.
It must be hereditary because Aviv bragged about the rhythmic capabilities shown by her older daughter, five-year-old Eden.
“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 vocals.
“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 forget.”
Maybe that’s what Din Din Aviv is referring to when she invites her audiences to her world inside a world.