Why I Still Love Ofra Haza

December 20, 2014

ofra hazaLike everyone else, I admire a few musicians and bands that are more or less known by the general public. It was quite hard to choose a favourite artist for my first English article about music, because I love all of my favourite artists pretty much the same. It really depends on the days when you feel like listening certain songs of a musician you like. Some artists seem to be unearthly figures, whose voices and power to gather people through their music is jaw-dropping. Unfortunately, miracles don’t last too long; thus the beloved artists pass away. Sometimes they got to live their life to the fullest. Other times, something from outside put out their flame. Even if their lives were short, their legacy continues to charm and amaze us.

Ofra Haza was an Israeli singer, actress, songwriter and probably Israel’s most beloved female pop  artist, who became an international star, due to the mixture of traditional music and modern beat.  Her love for the Israeli and Yemenite culture managed to somehow bring together people of different beliefs and communities. Most of her albums  were very well-received, both in the Middle East and in the West and they won many awards such as gold and platinum plates. Ofra Haza collaborated with many well-known artists such as Sarah Brightman for the album entitled Harem, she recorded the song Daw Da Hiya with Iggy Pop and she was the voice of the mother of Moses in the Dreamwork animated movie The Prince of Egypt, where she also sang – in various languages – the beautiful and emotional song Deliver Us. Ofra Haza’s successful career would have continued if she hadn’t died at the age of 42 from AIDS-related pneumonia.

I discovered Ofra Haza’s music more than five years ago, when a friend showed me a song about Jerusalem (Yerushalayim Shel Zahav) that remained to this day my favourite song from Ofra. The thing that struck me the most was the angel-like crystal clear voice of the singer and her ability to hold the long notes at the end of the song. It’s really hard to explain, but you will know what I mean when you listen to the song. One thing is for sure, if you hear her unique voice once, you cannot mistake it for someone else’s. Ofra’s voice is considered to be a oframezzo-soprano, but for me it has a certain Oriental sensuality that makes me dream of oceans of sand, caravans and Fata Morgana, which is also one of Ofra’s songs. But her voice doesn’t only make you travel back in time millennia ago, when people lived differently, it also has a motherly tenderness that can make you cry if the soft modulations manage to dive deep into your soul and revive old memories or reopen your wounds. Besides her vocal skills, I’ve also admired Ofra’s love for her motherland, peace and people in general. Another fact that I like about her is that she never forgot where she came from, therefore she acted naturally even after becoming famous.

That being said, these are the reasons why I love Ofra Haza so much as an artist and as human being. Before ending this article, I am going to leave three links to three songs I have chosen for you to listen, whether you want to discover or to remember Ofra. The songs are: Yerushalayim Shel Zahav (Jerusalem of Gold), Deliver Us from The Prince of Egypt and Daw Da Huya in collaboration with Iggy Pop.

by Alina Andreea Cătărău

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One Response to Why I Still Love Ofra Haza

  1. The Prince of Egypt | eLitere on February 21, 2015 at 6:15 am

    […] ago, I mentioned the song Deliver Us from the 1998 film The Prince of Egypt in the article about Ofra Haza. Due to the widespread success of this adaptation (it won an Oscar for  the song When You Believe) […]

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