OFRA HAZA: ANOTHER QUEEN OF THE MIDDLE EAST!

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Continuing my SPECIAL LADIES series, here’s another QUEEN OF THE MIDDLE EAST, OFRA HAZA who hails from Israel.

In fact this week whilst I’m on my holidays, a lot of my pre-prepared posts will be about Israeli music in all forms, hip–hop, dubstep, dancehall etc.  We have not covered much on that front and I think it was about time that we did do so.

It was her YEMENITE SONGS album that caught my attention way back in or about 1985/1986 and that was one of my first forays into Global music.  I was just captivated by the cover art, as above, and by the sounds on that album.  Plus she sings in 3 different languages on that album, Arabic, Aramaic and Hebrew.

Shortly after that album came out, Coldcut used  a sample from her track “Im Nin Alu” to great effect on their innovative hip-hop track with Eric B & Rakim, “Paid in Full”.  That then made it clear to me that I was not alone in my admiration for this vocalist.  She also did a cover of Zeppelin’s “KASHMIR” but man it was awful and so let’s not talk about that too much!

I personally don’t think she did anything to top YEMENITE SONGS and unforunately she died in 2000 at the tender age of 42.

Again, to find out  more, there is extensive material available on the web and so seek it out for yourselves if it interests you.

I have to leave with you IM NIN ALU but this is a mash up version, which I discovered recently and featuring PANJABI MC!

Ofra Haza & Panjabi MC – Im Nin Alu

4 comments

  • Balkadan July 27, 2009

    Israel is strong today in the posts :)
    respect

  • KNJ July 28, 2009

    Ofra did two different covers of Led Zepp’s “Kashmir”. The first one was a straight rendition of the song as a ‘B-side’ to “Mata Hari” – it lacked her usual inspired delivery and (unusually for Ofra) was not good.
    Ofra’s second version of Kashmir was a multi-tracked re-arrangement given her full mystical, ethereal treatment and was a completely different powerful rendition that leaves you exhausted when you give it your full attention – she put so much into it. This was on the unpublished “Queen in Exile” album and was eventually published on CD3 of the posthumous “Greatest Hits Vol. 2”. One YouTube uploader has superimposed her version over a Led Zepp track – worth a play ! Like a bunch of lads singing along with their teacher.
    Ofra Haza was a vocalist for whom the word “awesome” applies literally. To appreciate her work you need to get into her ‘home-country’ catalogue as well as her international CDs.
    What she produced in her last few years makes her, for me, No.1 in the world by a big margin and there are unpublished works of which a few tasters suggest that she was promising to hit a new level of excellence – beyond the reach of other singers.
    I recommend her last 1997 album “Ofra Haza” and her 1995 album “Kol Haneshama” (‘My Soul’). Her performance of “Deliver Us” in the Dreamworks animation ‘The Prince of Egypt’ is legendary – sung in some 17 languages – and her version of “Jerusalem of Gold” is in the Pavarotti stratum of music renditions. Catch her life on 1,500 plus uploads on YouTube and discover the “The Queen of the World”.

  • djumb August 1, 2009

    Hey thanks man, Will def check the other stuff out….

    If you have a copy of the Kashmir you rate, please send it on my man…djumb@tiscali.co.uk would love to hear it as the version I have heard and have somewhere is quite bad man and does not do justice to Ofra’s voice or indeed to Zeppelin!

  • […] I did a small feature¬†a few weeks back about one of my SPECIAL LADIES, Ofra Haza, track back HERE. […]

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