Singer Tehila Nini Goldstein’s double-barrelled surname is a product of her parents’ marriage, rather than her own: Nini is the surname of her mother, whose father made his way from Yemen to the Land of Israel in 1927 as a 2.5 year old toddler, in a donkey train. Goldstein is the surname of her father, a Jewish American of Eastern European descent. Add in the fair share of wandering that Tehila herself has clocked in during her 35 years, and some of the background behind Baroque from Yemen, the show she is set to perform in the festival with her co-musicians in the ensemble of Sferraina, transpires.
Born in New York, Nini Goldstein spent most of her childhood in Tzur Hadassah, outside Jerusalem. Singing has been a major part in the family’s life for as long as she can remember: »Whenever we’d get together, we’d sit around and sing. My grandma, a miniature 94-year-old woman, who still rules the family with a firm hand, sang her way through whatever she did. Whether it was washing up or seeing my grandfather to his final place of rest, she did it all singing.«
Another significant source of inspiration was her famous cousin, Achinoam Nini, known outside of Israel as Noa. »She started her career when I was about 10, and I would join her to her shows whenever I could. I’ve always been impressed by her candour as an artist, the way she stands on stage, telling a story.«