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Ofra Haza

Ofra Haza

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Album Review

The final disc from Israeli diva Ofra Haza, recorded in 1997, prior to her too early death from AIDS-related complications, showcases her multifaceted pop styles. It might be more mainstream than her earlier work, but it expands her horizons, and the powerful opener, "Show Me," harks back to that work with Middle Eastern instruments. "Im Nin Alu 2000" updates her best-known piece, although the major change from the original is just a pounding bass synth that powers the tune along. "Give Me a Sign" is sung in English, with a French spoken word interlude, with echoes of overblown Sarah Brightman to the arrangement and performance (which is also unfortunately true of "Sixth Sense," where the idea works better). Musically, "You" is gloriously atmospheric, from the eerie cello to Haza's haunted vocal. The cover of Carole King's "You Got a Friend" works perhaps better than it should, with a very heartfelt performance. Looking in retrospect, "One Day" makes for a poignant ending to the disc. While there's perhaps too great a reliance on keyboard and orchestra, the record rises above all that, and shows the singer Haza would probably have become, had time allowed. The sadness is that she didn't achieve the greater international acclaim her talent warranted, but this stands as a wonderful swan song.

Biography

Born: 19 November 1957 in Hatikva, Tel-Aviv, Israel

Genre: World

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Long one of Israel's most popular singers, Ofra Haza broke through to international recognition during the mid-'80s when her traditional music found favor on the U.K. club circuit, its success leading to a series of unlikely pop projects. Born in Tel Aviv on November 19, 1959, Haza was the daughter of Yemenite parents forced to flee from their native country's Muslim regime; at the age of 12 she joined the renowned Hatikva theatrical troupe, and with that group, cut a number of award-winning records...
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Ofra Haza, Ofra Haza
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