Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Ofra Haza

Yaacov has been on a "Music of the Jews" binge the past month or so. I suppose not much else is going on, what with Obama paralyzing Israeli-Arab diplomacy, so why not. I don't know very much about Israeli music of the 20th century; just a few classics that even a diaspora yid like me would have a hard time evading.

Last summer, however, I discovered her and fell in love, four decades too late.

"Mi Li Yiten"

I can't say I enjoy anything Ofra Haza sang in the 80s and 90s, though apparently millions of people disagree with me. Her music videos of this era are terrible by modern standards. Here are a couple more favorites from an earlier time.

"Shabbat ha'malka"

"Im Nin'alu"

Ayinchet has gathered quite a collection. Ofra Haza's parents were from Yemen. She was born in what was essentially a slum of Tel Aviv - Hatikvah ("the Hope") - in 1957. As far as I can tell, with songs like "Jerusalem of Gold" and a massive gold Magen Dovid around her neck in the above "Shabbat ha'Malka", she was a Zionist through and through. That doesn't seem to stop dozens, if not hundreds of Arabs, particularly Yemenites, from claiming her as their own in Youtube comments, some in better taste than others. Ofra passed away in 2000 of multiple organ failure brought about by AIDS, at just 42 years of age. Many blame her husband, who may have been a drug user.

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