“Many times after concerts people tell me they didn’t know there are also art and music coming from Israel. But after watching the concert, they don’t only learn something new, but the rhythms were so infectious to them that they couldn’t sit still in their chairs. I feel happy when I play music, and if one can forward this drive to other people, I find it beautiful. It’s what music is all about.”
The Dutch Public Broadcast NPO made a mini-documentary about Nani’s musical work, with the attentive director Dvid Blitz. This was also followed by a 4-page feature for the EO Visie magazine. A sunny conversation in a “hofje” (hidden garden) with the wonderful Bart van Delen made Noam reminisce her formative school years, a birthday celebration 3 years back and even Checkpoint Charlie. The interview is in Dutch (check attached link/photos), but here is also a translation to English. The docu will air on Sunday, August 30th 2020, 00:50.
“Jewish singer Nani Noam Vazana performs all over the world. She sings in English, Hebrew and nowadays als in Ladino, the language of her grandmother. Not a lot of people know that she also directs the choir Hebrew Groove that sings Hebrew pop songs. In our mini-docu series “Naches” you can see how cozy the rehearsals are.
7X QUESTIONS WITH Nani Noam Vazana
1. What kind of language is Ladino?
“It was spoken by the #Spanish and Portuguese Jews but also in Moroccoe, where my family comes from. It has the same connection to Spanish as Yiddish has with German. My grandmother spoke Ladino and we sang together in the kitchen while cooking. When I was on tour in Morocco a few years ago I rediscovered this languages in a song I heard on the street and it renewed my connection to my past.”
2. Does your past enrich your music?
“My parents escaped from Morocco as refugees, and I grew up in Israel, which is a huge fusion of cultures. This affected my life a lot, when you grow up in such a continuously changing landscape, you keep on developing as a person and as an artist.”
3. Which historical moment would you like to have experienced yourself?
“I would have loved to relive the fall of the Berlin wall as an adult. I was 6 years old when I saw it happening on TV and I can still remember how it seemed beautiful to me. Freedom is a very important value in my life. On that day, I felt how emotional it must have been for the people living in the east of Berlin, having to miss their freedom for such a long time.”
4. What is your favourite Bible story?
“As a Jewish kid I heard and studied these stories in school but to be honest I’m not so busy with them nowadays. I do remember being touched by the return of the dove after the flood with a branch of olive in her beak. For me Noach’s peace dove is still a symbol of freedom and hope.”
5. Who would you give a piece of your mind?
“I remember how I woke up on my birthday in 2016: Trump was elected, Leonard Cohen passed away and we commemorated the Kristallnacht… There’s an Israeli pop song criticising a journalist: ‘How can you sleep at night after all you’ve written?’. I wonder how Trump feels when he goes to sleep after a day full of bad decisions.”
6. What would you take with you if your house was on fire?
“My Piano and my Trombone, my beloved instruments that are my companions throughout this musical life journey. I know I can carry the piano by myself even if I’m alone at home, thanks to a trick I’ve learnt from my piano tuner. If you stick a thin wooden plank underneath the piano, you can push it easily outside the door.”
7. Who are you jealous of?
“Of anyone who is able to look and listen to themselves less critically than me. I can only enjoy an album that I made a few years after making peace with all the imperfections within it. After a concert I keep on replaying a small mistake in my head while the public wouldn’t notice. I would have liked to relax into the compliments given to me after shows and simply enjoy when someone approaches to thank me for a beautiful evening.”
– 34 Years old
– Singer Songwriter
– Living in Amsterdam, Netherlands
– Played on music festivals such as North Sea Jazz, Music Meeting and Jazzahead
– Won the PAIS Album Award 2020, the ACE Premiere Award 2019, the SENA Album Award 2019 and the Sephardic Music Award 2018
– Released several albums, the most recent Andalusian Brew combining Sephardic tunes & North African beats”