Über Ofra Haza (Texte aus dem Internet)

An appreciation


Even after she left Israel to achieve fame and fortune in Europe and the US, Ofra Haza was still "our girl." Her accomplishments boosted the country, as we saw her reach a level of international success that no other Israeli pop singer had achieved.

This success became apparent after the news that she had been hospitalized in serious condition was made public earlier this month. Fans conducted vigils at the hospital and the Hebrew tabloids ran wild with the story, dropping innuendo and spreading rumors about her condition and its causes.

But the overkill may have been a necessary outlet for the pain the nation felt. For Haza was a true rags-to-riches immigrant success story.

Rising from the working class Hatikva quarter in Tel Aviv, one of nine children born to traditional Yemenite immigrants, Haza became one of the country's most loved singers.

Whether appearing at the Eurovision Contest singing "Chai" in 1983 or topping the European club charts with "Im Nin Alu," she projected an image of confidence and joy, one that reflected back on her fans.

When she left to break out of the small Israeli confines in the mid-1980s, some criticized the move as unpatriotic and selfish. But in becoming a goodwill ambassador for Israel through her high profile, she performed immeasurable good for the country.

The fans who stood vigil, agonized over the newspapers every day, and last night bade farewell, weren't saying goodbye to the elegant, worldwide star. They were mourning their girl from Tel Aviv.



Ofra Haza: From Hatikva to Hollywood


Ofra Haza was an artist whose roots were the core of her music and her world-wide success -

Raised as the youngest of nine children to a traditional Yemenite family in the Hatikva neighborhood of Tel Aviv, Haza's fairy-tale climb to fame and fortune has become the stuff of local legend.

At age of 12, she joined the Hatikva Theater group. With the encouragement of the group's founder Bezalel Aloni, who later became her manager, Haza took on stronger and more demanding leading roles within the Hatikva group, and by the time she was 19, her solo career was launched.

After serving two years in the IDF she recorded her first solo album and quickly rose to become one of the country's top singers. She was voted second in the 1983 Eurovision Song Contest with "Chai" and released 16 gold and platinum albums.

Then, the unlikely idea of matching traditional Yemenite songs with a throbbing dance beat unexpectedly launched an international career.

In 1985, Haza, released her first international album, Yemenite Songs, a collection of interpretations of devotional poetry written by 17th-century rabbi, Shalom Shabazi. Then in 1988, Ofra appeared in the remix of "Paid in Full" in the Colors movie soundtrack.

Not long after, Ofra's song "Im Nin Alu" reached No. 1 in the German charts for nine straight weeks and No. 1 in the Euro charts for two weeks, making her an international name.

Haza focused on the international arena, relocating to Los Angeles, but she returned home a number of times each year for performances and visits. On February 3, 1987, Haza survived an airplane crash in a Cessna aircraft on the Israeli/Jordanian border.

Her next album, Shaday, continued her international success, selling over one million copies worldwide and receiving The New Music Award for the International Album of the Year in New York City in 1989.

The success of Shaday broke into the US, Canadian, and Japanese markets as her tour continuously sold out and her single, "Im Nin Alu," won first place at the Tokyo music festival.

Her visual image, with her colorful national dress and the exotic mixture of Middle Eastern ballads and rhythms blended with western styles, helped to make her Israel's best-known female solo singer in the US and Europe.

In 1992, Ofra's album Kirya was nominated for the Grammy Awards for the best album in the World Beat category.

At the request of the late prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, Haza performed at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo in December 1994. "I'm happy with what I have. I thank God. I am the first Israeli to have this kind of success, so why should I complain about anything?" she told The Jerusalem Post in 1994.

Haza continued to appear in many projects in recent years, including the DreamWorks Prince of Egypt soundtrack and The Governess soundtrack, both in 1998.


Ofra Haza (1959-2000)

"Eine Saengerin, die Israel und der Welt Hoffnung gab"

(Shimon Peres)

Ofra Haza wurde 1959 in Tel Aviv als Kind einer jemenitischen Familie geboren. Ihr Talent wurde im Alter von 12 Jahren entdeckt, als sie in Tel Aviv Mitglied der Kindertheatergruppe "Hatikwa" war.

Ab den Siebzigerjahren war sie Solistin und begann eine Karriere als Saengerin populaerer Musik. 1983 vertrat sie Israel mit dem Lied "Chai" beim internationalen Songcontest und errang den zweiten Platz.

Ofra gewann in Israel viele Preise und ihre Platten verkauften sich ausgezeichnet. 1985 erschien ihr Album mit jemenitischen Liedern des Dichters Shalom Shabazi aus dem 17. Jahrhundert. Damit begann ihre internationale Karriere.

Ihr Lied "Im Nin Alu" hielt neun Wochen den ersten Platz in den deutschen Charts und zwei Wochen in den europaeischen. Ofra Haza konzentrierte sich auf ihre internationale Karriere und uebersiedelte nach Los Angeles. Jedes Jahr kehrte sie fuer Besuche und Auftritte nach Israel zurueck.

1987 stuerzte ihr Flugzeug an der israelisch-jordanischen Grenze ab. Am dritten Februar feierte sie von da ab ihren zweiten Geburtstag.

Ihr naechstes Album, "Shaday" setzte ihren Erfolg fort, 1989 wurde sie dafuer in New York mit dem "New Music Award" fuer das internationale Album des Jahres ausgezeichnet. Ihre Tourneen in den Vereinigten Staaten, in Kanada und Japan waren ausverkauft, ihre Single "Im Nin Alu" gewann den ersten Preis im Tokioter Musikfestival. In Deutschland wurde sie Saengerin des Jahres.

1990 erhielt Ofra Haza als erfolgreichste israelische Kuenstlerin in Monte Carlo den "World Music Award", sie trat beim Jazzfestival in Montreux auf und 1992 wurde ihr Album "Kirya" fuer einen Grammy nominiert.

1994 wurde sie von Ministerpraesident Jitzchak Rabin anlaesslich der Verleihung des Friedensnobelpreises in Oslo aufzutreten.

Ofra Haza war weiterhin an vielen Projekten beteiligt, darunter der Soundtrack fuer die Filme "Prinz von Aegypten" und "The Governess".

Sie starb ueberraschend nach kurzer Krankheit am 24. Februar 2000.