Tel Aviv, Israel
Place of Death
Sheba Medical Center, Ramat Gan, Israel
Cause of Death
Brown - Dark
Claim to Fame
Al Ahavot Shelanu
Worldbeat, Jewish Music, Club/Dance, Pop/Rock, Middle Eastern Pop, Middle Eastern Traditions, Israeli, Yemenite
Stylish, Hypnotic, Sensual, Confident, Passionate, Spiritual, Ethereal
Profile Bio Text
Ofra Haza (Hebrew: עפרה חזה) was an Israeli singer, actress and international recording artist.
Her music, inspired by her love of her Yemenite Jewish culture, fused elements of folk, dance and pop. Combined with her being able to switch between traditional and more commercial styles, she became an instant local, then national success story. Later, she found international success in Europe and the United States.
Her mother was a housewife and her father was a simple worker in Tel Aviv municipality until he retired. Her parents immigrated to Israel from Yemen on 1944 “with the
strongest desire to come to Zion Jerusalem”, according to what Ofra said. In Yemen, Yefet was a workman on a ship. Once, while he was sitting in a restaurant in Aden, one of the waitresses told him that she had a sister who was single. “Bring her here and I’ll marry her”, said Yefet. Shoshana, the daughter of Shlomit Abdar, was immediately brought on a donkey and they both married without knowing each other. “The family name, Haza, was derived from the name of the village in Yemen where my parents lived. The name of the village was El Haz, and our family was the only Jewish family in the
Of Yemenite Jewish ancestry, Haza was born the youngest of nine children in the poor Hatikva Quarter of Tel Aviv. At the age of twelve-and-a-half, Haza joined a local theatre troupe, and manager Bezalel Aloni spotted her exceptional singing talent. He staged many of his productions around Haza as the centrepiece and later on he became her longtime manager and mentor. At the age of 19, she was Israel`s first pop princess and retrospectively, music journalists described her as "The Madonna of the East".
By the time she had completed her military service in 1979, Aloni`s protégé had matured as a singer and was ready to launch a solo career.
Her first album, entitled Al Ahavot Shelanu (About our Love), was released in 1980 and yielded a string of popular radio hits, including "Hageshem" (The Rain), "Shir Ahava La`chayal" (Love Song For The Soldier), "Kmo Tzipor" (Like A Bird) and what ultimately became her signature song in her homeland, "Shir Ha`frecha" (The Bimbo Song). The latter was written for the film Shlagger (1979) in which Haza played a leading role. At first, radio stations across the country refused to play the song due to its explicit lyrics but it quickly climbed the charts and reached #1, where it stayed for five consecutive weeks.
In 1983, Haza`s career jumped to a new level of success and popularity. At the Eurovision Song Contest, she came in a close second to the Luxembourg entry with the song "Khay" (Alive).
Author and historian John Kennedy O`Connor notes in "The Eurovision Song Contest — The Official History" that Haza`s performance of this song was highly symbolic as it contains the lyric "Israel Is Alive" (the contest was held in Munich, Germany, the scene of the 1972 Olympic`s massacre). In December that year, Haza released what was to become the turning point of her career, a collection of Yemenite songs, simply titled Yemenite Songs. Despite lukewarm radio airplay, the album went on to become a best-seller, quickly reaching platinum status. This LP was reissued in the United States by Shanachie Records under the title Fifty Gates of Wisdom.
Questioned about the theatre troupe, she spoke of poverty and the total neglect of successive governments for the Hatikvah region; and how, by way of protest, the community had rallied to create something positive and dramatic, which would make others sit up and take notice of a forgotten neighbourhood. Throughout the interview, Aloni can be heard in the background, adding information and correcting Haza about her age (by subtracting two years), when asked about her first album.
Her greatest international recognition came with the single "Im Nin`Alu", taken from the album Shaday (1988), which won the New Music Award for Best International Album of the Year. The song topped the Eurochart (Europe`s equivalent to the American Billboard charts) for two weeks in June that year and was on heavy rotation on MTV channels across the continent. For years to come, this song would be extensively re-released, re-mixed and sampled, for example on Coldcut`s remix of Eric B. & Rakim`s "Paid in Full." The single made only a brief appearance in the UK top 40 singles chart, but became a dancefloor favorite across Europe and the USA, topping the German charts for nine weeks.
"Im Nin` Alu" would go on to be featured on an in-game radio playlist of the video game Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories, released in 2005.
Haza also received critical acclaim for the albums Fifty Gates of Wisdom (1988), Desert Wind (1989), Kirya (1992), Ofra Haza (1997) and for her collection of children`s songs, L`Yeladim
Couple Profile Source
imninalu.net/relatedlinks.htm, myspace.com/ofrahazafanzine, chipwich.tripod.com/ofrahaza/main.html, ofrahaza.de, ofra.haza.co.il
Full Name at Birth
Soundtrack, Actor/Actress, Composer
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Music Profile Complete
Music Genre (Text)
World music · Pop, Ethnic electronica, Middle Eastern music, Synthpop
Hed Arzi, EastWest Records, Shanachie Records, BMG Ariola, Ausfahrt, Sire/Warner Bros. Records
Wiki Bio Text
Bat-Sheva Ofra Haza-Ashkenazi (Hebrew: עפרה חזה; November 19, 1957 – February 23, 2000) was an Israeli singer, actress, and recording artist. Her voice has been described as a "tender" mezzo-soprano.
Ofra Haza died on February 23, 2000, at the age of 42, of AIDS-related pneumonia.
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