Sabra Sounds: Children's Songs and Noa

Noa is known on the global music market for her ability to mix authentic ethnic styles with smooth western sounds.

noa 88 (photo credit: )
noa 88
(photo credit: )
Shirei Hayeladim Hagdolim Bekol Hazmanim (Children's Songs - All Time Greatest Hits) (NMC United) NMC's newest anthology of children's songs could be called the definitive collection. The record label has gathered favorite kids' songs from the First Aliya through to today that have become an important part of Israeli culture. There are 190 songs organized into five CDs. And all the songs are original performances. The first CD subtitled "Eize Yom Sameah" (What a Happy Day) comprises 42 play songs and birthday tunes. From "Ooga Ooga" to "Eser Etzbaot Li" to "Hayom Yom Huledet." Anyone who has a child or who has been in contact with children will be able to sing along. These tracks are short and upbeat, though somewhat grating as well. "Red Elaynu Aviron," the second CD, includes 40 songs for toddlers. These songs - "Yonatan Hakatan," "Buba Zehava," and "Abba Abba," among others - have appealing lyrics and catchy melodies that are sure to inspire youngsters into singing and grooving along. Many of the playful songs describe real kid experiences that children can identify with. CD No. 3, "Letzvi Yesh Beaya" is a compilation of 34 songs about animals and songs from festivals. Yehoram Gaon's classic rendition of "Parash," Chava Alberstein singing "Pil Pilon," and Ilanit's "Parpar Nechmad" will likely hit a nostalgic note with parents. Most of the songs on this CD have soft female vocals and light instrumentation - a great combination for calming the little ones in the family. The fourth CD installment, "Shnaym Asar Yerachim" is a 48-track disc of holiday and seasons songs. These traditional folk songs for children and adults alike are performed by the likes of Shula Chen, Naomi Shemer, Dudu Elharar, and Ruhama Raz. The final disc, "Makhela Aliza," is a delightful mix of 26 songs for the young ones that the older ones are sure to like as well. Included here are Yehudit Ravitz's "Hayalda Hachi Yafa B'gan" and Hakeves Ha-16's "Gan Sagur," as well as Alberstein's "Makhela Aliza." From the timeless songs penned by the cream of Israeli poets and writers (among them Lea Goldberg, Natan Alterman, Avraham Shlonsky) to today's new hits, this anthology traces the evolution and history of Hebrew children's songs. There really is a little something for everyone in this compilation and it is sure to be a hit with music lovers of all ages. NOA Genes & Jeans (Helicon) Ahinoam Nini (Noa) recently released her fifth international album, Genes & Jeans, featuring 17 new songs. The singer with the enchanting voice is known on the global music market for her ability to mix authentic ethnic styles with smooth western sounds. The songs here are optimistic ("Follow Your Heart"), in favor of peace ("Something Has Changed"), and based on traditions ("Dala Dala"). While she has sung about peace and optimism before, on this disc Noa spotlights Yemenite songs. In the past she has set her songs to Yemenite and Middle Eastern music, but has never really crooned traditional Yemenite texts. In her introduction to the album, Noa says that she wanted to revive the Yemenite songs she heard as a child from her grandmother. "The beautiful melodies and wonderful voices touched me deeply and humbled me greatly," she writers, referring to the likes of Aharon Amram, Zion Golan, Shoshana Damari, and Shlomo Dachyani. Noa wrote new English lyrics and music to the songs and "wrapped them around the old songs like a long coat in winter." Indeed, the Yemenite-inspired songs are the most fascinating on the album. Her songs speak both to those who connect to Jewish tradition and to those who don't. Her rendition of "El Hamaayan," for example, starts out with the time-honored melody and then changes into a peppy folk song. The music is passionate, colorful and varied throughout, with Noa's voice backed by frenzied drumming, ethnic melodies, and western harmonies. Listeners won't even notice the change when she switches between singing in English, Hebrew and Yemenite. Overall, the album is an intriguing one. It takes a few spins in the CD player to really connect with Noa's unique musical genius.