Ofra Haza  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Ofra Haza (November 19 1957February 23 2000) was a popular Israeli singer, actress and international recording artist, best-known for her single "Im Nin'Alu".

Biography

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 US; during her singing career, she earned many platinum and gold albums.

International artist

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. Subsequent singles were also given the dance-beat / MTV-style video treatment, most notably, "Galbi", "Daw Da Hiya" and "Mata Hari", but none quite matched the runaway success of her first hit. "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 (1982).

Kirya (co-produced by Don Was) received a Grammy nomination.

In 1994, Haza released her first Hebrew album in seven years, Kol Haneshama (The Whole Soul). Though not an initial chart success, the album produced one of her biggest hits to date, "Le'orech Hayam" (Along The Sea). The song did not have any substantial chart success upon its release to radio but became an anthem after Haza performed it on the assembly in memorial to deceased Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, a week after he was assassinated. Radio stations around the country started playing it and people took notice. Its lyrics became even more symbolic following Haza's own death in 2000.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Ofra Haza" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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