A Musical DynastyA Musical Dynasty

Another Banai emerges from famed musical family

Noam Banai, son of Meir and cousin to Ehud, Yuval and Elisha, records a new single; wins support from singer-turned-religious father

Jessica Steinberg, The Times of Israel's culture and lifestyles editor, covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center

Another Banai is making his way to the recording studio. This time it’s Noam Banai, son of Meir Banai, with his latest single, “Oak Tree,” from “Tel Avivit,” his album that is still in production.

The song, written while Banai was traveling in India, is about a relationship — one that the young singer demurred to discuss during his interview with “Good Evening with Guy Pines.” The video features a provocatively dressed and tattoed dancer, which means his father, who returned to a more religious way of life 15 years ago, won’t be watching it, said Noam Banai during the interview.

His voice, however, has a sound familiar to that of his father, as well as his famous cousins and uncles, given the musical traditions in the Banai family dynasty.

Noam Banai is the grandson of Meir Eliyahu Banai — whose sons Yaakov, Yossi and Gavri all became actors — and the son of Meir Banai, as well as the nephew of comedian Orna Banai and singer Eviatar Banai. There’s also his famous singer/songwriter cousins, Ehud Banai, Yuval Banai and Yuval’s son, Elisha Banai, who is of Noam Banai’s generation.

Noam’s father, Meir, was a well-known singer before he became religious, but his work since becoming more observant is part of a fundamental shift in Israeli culture, as mystical and spiritual themes enter rock and roll.

His father’s shift toward religion had a major effect on Noam Banai, he said in the Guy Pines interview, and it happened when he was about 10 years old. His parents also divorced around that period.

“It was a big change, but I came around with time,” said Banai, who is not religiously observant.

When Noam Banai told his father he wanted to become a musician, his father told him to work hard, but was supportive, he said.

This latest Banai to enter the musical fray will be performing around Israel through the end of July and in August.

  • Saturday night, July 30,10:30 p.m., Abraxas, 40 Lillienblum, Tel Aviv
  • Thursday night, August 4, 10:30 p.m., HaArbaim Pub, Kibbutz Talilim
  • Wednesday night, August 8, 10:30 p.m., 26 Bialik, Beersheba

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