VIDEO – An exiled Iranian singer and a young Israeli singer have recorded a duet for Christmas in English which is a cover version of an Israeli song.
The exiled Iranian is Ebrahim Hamedi, 64, better known by his stage name Ebi. The Israeli singer is Liel Kolet, and the song was originally written by Yoav Ginai and Tomer Addadi for Israeli singer Boaz Sharabi, who released the single "Chag Sameach Ahavat Chayai" (happy holiday, love of my life) about three years ago.
In Ebi and Kolet's version the song is called "I Can Hear Christmas," and Americans appear to be showing an interest in it due to the cooperation between a Jew and a Muslim in a song for a Christian holiday.
Ebi was born in Tehran, and after Khomeini's revolution in Iran he no longer returned to the country. He is considered a very popular singer in the Iranian community in the United States and in Iran itself.
"The idea to record a song together was born in Berlin," says Kolet. "It happened when I performed in a concert in solidarity with the Iranian people and met Ebi there. We both live in Los Angeles and we started talking. I thought that singing a duet with him would be the right thing to do. Irit, my manager, met with Ebi's manager, and we decided to record a duet for Christmas with a message of peace, which would be sung by a Muslim man and Jewish woman, and it appears to have worked."
The song, which will soon be released in a Spanish version and has been successful in Iran too, was suggested to Kolet by Tomer Addadi for her upcoming album.
"I really liked it after hearing it for the first time and wanted to include it in my next album in a different version. When Ebi came along, we had him listen to it and he was turned on by the idea and really liked the song. I think it's very brave of him because he has a lot to lose, both in cooperating with an Israeli and a song for Christmas, a holiday which is not very popular among Muslims.
"A publicist named Liz Rosenberg, who worked in the past with Madonna and Cher, is helping us a lot. On the backdrop of the nuclear talks with Iran and the new understandings making headlines around the world, we got a perfect timing."
And back to Kolet. "I just signed a contract with the Warner Music Group's ADA company to produce an album and an option for two more," she says. "The album I have already recorded will be released this February with the new song."