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Ofra Haza


Ofra Haza (Hebrew: עפרה חזה‎, pronounced [ʕofrɑːh ħazzɑːh]) (November 19, 1957 February 23, 2000) was a popular Israeli singer, actress and international recording artist.

Of Yemenite Jewish ancestry, Haza was born the youngest of nine children in the poor Tel Aviv neighborhood of Hatikvah (meaning "hope" in Hebrew). She became an instant local, then national, success story, the subject of great pride for many Israelis of Yemenite origin.

Her voice has been described as mezzo-soprano, of near-flawless tonal quality, capable of lending itself to a variety of musical styles with apparent ease.

Inspired by a love of her Yemenite-Jewish culture, the appeal of her musical art quickly spread to a wider Middle Eastern audience, somehow bridging the divide between Israel and the Arab countries. As her career progressed, the multi-lingual Haza was able to switch between traditional and more commercial singing styles without jeopardising her credibility. The music, too, fused elements of Eastern and Western instrumentation, orchestration and dance-beat. Success was to follow in Europe and the Americas; during her singing career, she earned many platinum and gold discs.

She was a talented and grand artist. I bought Fifty Gates of Wisdom on a whim in the 80's, for my personal listening, having no idea that some of these songs would soon be remixed and released as 12" singles ripe for the dance floor. I have no idea what her original pop songs sound like, but she was awesome.  Is still awesome.


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