The world now feels like a small place, right? It’s like the various cultures are melting down together. This is not new for Israel! In Israel, that cultural transformation happened long before the Internet was found, before Youtube!, before iPods, even before MP3 players! And that manifests best in the music of Israel.
Mizrahi Music – The Arab Influence
As we all know, Yemenite Jews, Iraqi Jews and Moroccan Jews make over 27% of the Israeli Jewish population. With a huge demographic presence like that, those Arabic-speaking new immigrants had their influence on the Israeli music.
Mizrahi music usually involves the use of many music instruments that are used in the Arabic-speaking countries, and share their characteristics.
Ofra Haza – עפרה חזה
Ofra Haza is one of the most popular and powerful voices in Israel and around the world, though she left our world in 2000, aged 42.
Ofra seems to have loved everything about her life, as they say, she had the best of the two worlds. She originated from Yemen and born in Tel Aviv. Her music is pretty much the mix of the two cultures, the Yemenite and the Israeli.
She made notable songs that were played everywhere, from Israeli national holidays to discotheques.
Two of her most popular songs are, “yerushalayim shel zahav” (Jerusalem of Gold) and Galbi (my Heart), the first song talks about Jerusalem in Hebrew while the second one is a love song that Ofra Haza sang in Arabic and English.
Check here for more on Ofra Haza Galbi
Sarit Hadad – שרית חדד
Sarit Hadad is another example of the modern Middle Eastern influence on the music of Israel.
Madonna is said to be a “big fan” of Sarit Hadad and she said that she often listens to Sarit’s music. Yes, our Madonn
I can’t name one song for Sarit Hadad as my favorite, I have many favorites of her. However, here are two songs of Sarit that you probably would like.
Kobi Peretz – קובי פרץ
This is another Israeli Mizrahi musician, famous for his catchy music and wonderful oriental voice.
The two great songs he made are called:
Rak beyisrael = Only in Israel
Balbeli otto = Confuse him