Noa & Mira: A Message Of Co-Existence
In a first for the Eurovision Song Contest, Noa & Mira Awad will present a united Arab/Israeli front representing Israel with their entry There Must Be Another Way. During a hectic schedule of promotion in the lead up to the contest in Moscow in May, Noa and Mira took time out to discuss their participation with eurovision.tv
Eurovision.tv: Can you begin by telling our readers how you were first approached to represent Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest, and when that was? Were you approached individually first of all? Or was the idea always to be a collaboration?
Noa: "I was approached initially, as i have been several times in the past, by the IBA Israeli Broadcaster. I said I would agree only if Mira Awad would join me, and if we could write and perform a song in three languages, Arabic, Hebrew and English, as a message of co-existence and an alternative to the existing situation in our country. I am proud to have the opportunity to do that."
Mira: "As Noa said, she was approached by the Israeli Eurovision committee, as she was many times before and had declined. But this year, due to our long time collaboration, she felt that it could be a chance to continue this collaboration on one of the biggest stages in the world."
Eurovision.tv: When did you first become friends? Your biographies both mention that you attended the Rimon School of Music. Was that where you first met? Can you tell us a little about the projects you have worked on in the past?
Noa: "We met eight years ago. My musical partner Gil Dor saw Mira on a talk show and thought she was great. We met and had an immediate chemistry. We recorded We Can Work It Out for my 2001 release Now, and went on to collaborate on stage on numerous occasions internationally and record mira’s beautiful song, A Word together for her upcoming release. All our joint projects, including the four songs we wrote for the Israeli selection will appear on the album we are releasing in May. It will be named after the chosen song There Must Be Another Way. It will be released on Universal international."
Mira: "As Noa explains it is eight years that we have known each other, but funnily enough we didn't meet in the Rimon school, I was actually a student there after Noa had left, but the story about that amazingly talented Yemenite-American girl who came to the school and swept one of its' founders (Gil Dor) to an international career was and still is told in the halls of the school like an urban legend!."
Eurovision.tv: This is the first time that an Israeli/Arabic combination will go to the Eurovision Song Contest. How was the announcement received in Israel? How have the levels of support been from the public since the song was chosen?
Noa: "The announcement came at a bad time, right in the middle of the Gaza war. Even Mira and i could not muster enthusiasm, as we were all so depressed at the escalating violence and extremism in our region. Some people objected to our collaboration for various reasons, including the bad timing of the announcement, and a lot of mis-information concerning our relationship and our message. Now most of that objection has blown over, and we are getting massive support from the public, who see our song and friendship as a sign of hope. We are the voice of all those who believe There Must Be Another Way!"
Mira: "There is a lot of support to our duet and our journey and message, but naturally enough there is also opposition right wing in Israel is against us because we are peace seekers and dialogue believers, and the left wing is against us for accepting to represent the country and they have a lot of criticism to its actions. Noa and I try to keep the faith in what we're doing and in our message about the urgent need to make a change in the reality of our region."
Eurovision.tv: During the Israeli national Kdam selection, it seemed clear to the viewers that you were both disappointed when the song Boi Lirkod Iti was doing badly in the jury votes, and you seemed to enjoy that performance more than the other three songs. Was that your personal favourite of the four songs that you would have chosen to sing in Moscow?
Noa: "Mira and i have written all four songs, together with Gil Dor, so they are our ‘babies’. We would have been happy with any selection. The waltz is unique and fun to perform, but i am quite sure the song that was chosen is the stronger and more appropriate one."
Mira: "Will You Dance With Me is definitely a wonderful waltz, and it was very different from the other three songs, and yes, we enjoyed performing it, because of its' style. We didn't have a favourite , but when it seemed like the audience wasn't reacting to that song, and not giving it points, we were protective over it, and wanted it to get the credit it deserved. Eventually it got a lot of points and There Must Be Another Way won by a slight difference, and we are very happy with the choice."
Eurovision.tv: The winning song of course is There Must Be Another Way. What message exactly is the song and your performance trying to convey in your opinions?
Noa: "It’s really quite simple: There Must Be Another Way!! the lyrics say it all."
Mira: "That all that we've been doing in this region until now is not working, and is leading us to destruction and despair, and therefore we need to try another way. There is a line in the song that says and when I cry, I cry for both of us, my pain has no name, we believe that this empathy to each other's pain is the first step towards reconciliation."
Eurovision.tv: This year in Moscow, along with yourselves are some high profile names from the world of music. For example Patricia Kaas representing France, and Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber writing the United Kingdom entry. Do you think this strengthens the appeal of the Eurovision Song Contest going forward? What is the general perception of Eurovision amongst the Israeli public these days?
Noa: "I am very happy to be sharing the Moscow stage with such high calibre artists.The Eurovision Song Contest is very well loved in Israel by many people. The politics behind it are saddening but maybe with the Jury’s influence that will be mitigated."
Mira: " I'm not an expert on the Eurovision Song Contest by any stretch of the imagination, but I think that when well appreciated stars take part in the contest it adds a lot of prestige."
Eurovision.tv: You will compete in the first semi final of the Eurovision Song Contest in Moscow. How do you feel about having to win through an initial round with no guarantee of a place in the final? Do you see it as any kind of risk for your careers?
Noa: "I wish we would not have to compete in the Semi-Finals at all, and yes, it does worry me, i will be very disappointed not to at least pass into the finals. But having said that, the visibility of our message and music is what’s most important to me. I know the competition is out of my hands. I will do my best to give the most effective, integral, artistic performance i can."
Mira: "Personally I don't think of it as a career risk, because the Eurovision Song Contest is so different from all the things I do, but I am certainly nervous and would like to get to the finals."
Eurovision.tv: Many of the participants in Moscow are embarking on promotion tours, and attending preview parties. Do you have any intention to promote your song during April within or outside of Israel??
Noa: "We are not travelling to promote the song but we are doing many interviews with international media here in Israel, arranged by our very competent PR manager, Alon Amir. This includes BBC, CNN, the New York Times and Time magazine amongst others."
Mira: "We have no plans to go on promotional tours, although I recognize the importance of such tours, but we are both busy and have earlier engagements, especially Noa who is constantly touring with her music."
Noa & Mira Awad will represent Israel in the First Semi-Final of Europe's Favourite TV show on Tuesday 12th May. Eurovision.tv would like to wish Israel the best for Moscow and appreciates the busy schedule of Noa and Mira and would like to thank them and their PR manager Alon Amir for organising the interview.
Watch the Official Video of There Must Be Another Way