The text below is an English translation of the introduction to “Napoli-Tel-Aviv” written originally in Hebrew by Noa and Gil, as it appears on the first page of the booklet.
Dearest Friends, Our romance with Napoli began at the end of the last century when we began to travel throughout the south of Italy with our Sicilian friend and promoter Pompeo Benincasa. We sang “Boi Kala”, “Mismor Lilah” and Leah Goldberg’s “Marionot” and in return we received buckets of love (and great mozzarella). In Napoli itself we received discs and arrangements of local traditional music.
Through this we learnt that the famous “Return to Sorrento” is actually a political love song in which the residents of Sorrento are asking their leader not to leave their city. We sang it in concert to the immense surprise of the overjoyed crowd at hearing perfect Neapolitan dialect coming from the mouth of an Israeli singer. After winning over the South we dared to move up North and ‘invade’ the rest of Europe. Much wine has been spilt since but we still have a special love for the South of Italy. In recent years, due to our numerous performances with the great Solis String Quartet from Naples (with whom we also recorded and album and DVD at a live concert in Holon) we learnt many Neapolitan songs and made a special project of these songs as a type of gesture in gratitude to our Italian audience that has for years been accepting and embracing our music and ourselves with much love.
We performed this project in Caserta near Naples. The audience loved it and we fell in love?with the songs, their beautiful melodies and magical harmonies, their tender humanity. We felt such a deep connection to these songs, to the scent of the sea and the yearning coming from them, to the ‘chutzpah’ and the love for life, to the wandering and tears? that we just had to translate them into Hebrew. Gili started and Dan Almagor joined him. When the results arrived we understood that the songs had just been waiting to convert to Judaism and to make Aliyah to Israel, and now they are ours ? and yours.
We hope that you too will fall in love as we did. From the depths of our hearts, Achinoam (Noa) and Gil