Noga Ritter is a London-based singer-songwriter, band leader and workshop facilitator whose music blends Hebrew Jazz with global grooves. With songs sung in both Hebrew and English, she weaves intimate and personal stories into a compelling narrative of social-global issues. Her performances, whether stripped-down or with her full band, are passionate and energetic, captivating audiences and getting them moving to the inherent soul in her music.
Since launching her solo project at the end of 2018, Ritter has performed across the UK, including a sold-out show at the EFG London Jazz Festival in late 2022. She has also recently appeared on BBC1 morning TV video to promote ‘Ima’, her debut solo album which will be released in late May via Galileo Music. Supported by the Arts Council England and Help Musicians UK, it features more than a dozen superb musicians including the award-winning Seckou Keita on kora (west African harp), Byron Wallen on trumpet and Tony Kofi on saxophone. It is co-produced by Ritter with Liran Donin, who is also an acclaimed composer, band leader and bass player.
‘Ima’ sees Ritter bring Hebrew to its original nomadic context, tracing influences from her upbringing, travels and encounters. Soaring trumpet solos over Gnawa grooves, Jewish melodies backed with Senegalese sabar drums and blissful kora improvising alongside subtle Israeli jazz piano are just a few of the colours she has used to paint her musical stories in this remarkable body of work.
“This album is the closest I have got to myself in my music so far,” admits Ritter. “Digging into the roots of my soul, listening to my ancestors and following the lineage of powerful, creative and inspiring women in my life. It celebrates my collaborations and encounters with artists from many different backgrounds who have touched me and become part of my musical story. With my music, I bring people together, live and in the studio, to celebrate everyone's story, rhythm and flow in this dance that we call life.”
The title song was recently issued as the album’s first single. Meaning ‘Mother' in Hebrew, it celebrates women and mothers in particular as the creators of life, infinite love and creativity. Featuring the unique kora sound of Keita to bring to life the blessing Ritter wishes for all women to fly high and to express their full creative power, ‘Ima’ is dedicated to her mother Michal, who died from cancer a year ago. It is therefore a tribute song with a wider message of empowerment and inspiration for women to express their creative voices and celebrate their art.
A video for ‘Ima’ features the Leviot (lioness), a collective of female dancers and artists who came together to explore how women can embrace their artistic voice while being mothers and healers, and to support each other on their journey as creative women.
Prior to embarking on her solo work, Ritter released a 2016 album entitled ‘L’Odyssey’ and toured internationally with her former project Vocal Global, attracting positive notices from publications such as Songlines and fRoots. She has also performed and recorded with a diverse array of other artists, including The Grand Union Orchestra, Jyotsna Srikanth, Mike King Collective, Sura Susso, Lambrego and Randolph Matthews, performing at venues such as the Royal Festival Hall, Hackney Empire and Shoreditch Town Hall, plus events like Cambridge Festival, London International Arts Festival and more.
Meanwhile, her travels have brought about collaborations with fellow artists from many different backgrounds and disciplines, singing in various languages and styles that have seen her perform and record in Senegal, Israel and Palestine, Argentina, Brazil, Sierra Leone and mainland Europe. She has worked with names such as Alibeta, SAHAD, Sadio Cissokho, Victor Mendes, Alejandro Rodriguez Laulhe, Nizar Qabbani and Joe Legwabe.
Ritter’s passion for music is also evident in her years of workshop leading. Since graduating with an MA from Guildhall School of Music, she has worked for Live Music Now, Barbican Creative Learning and CREATE, performing and leading workshops at special needs schools, hospitals and care homes. She is a facilitator at Music Action International, leading songwriting workshops for children and refugees, and works with ON:SONG, leading singing workshops in workplaces.