The Madonna of the Middle East: Israeli pop icon Ofra Haza named one of greatest singers of all time

Rolling Stone Magazine hails Haza’s combination of traditional vocal conventions inspired by her Yemeni-Jewish ancestry with modern technique

Dennis Bihler|
American Rolling Stone Magazine published its "200 Greatest Singers Of All Time List" on Sunday, featuring Israeli pop icon Ofra Haza.
  • Follow Ynetnews on Facebook and Twitter

  • Ofra Haza, who received the nickname "The Madonna of the Middle East" by music journalists, was ranked 186 on the prestigious list topping other famed singers such as Kelly Clarkson, Billie Eilish, and others.
    2 View gallery
    התמונה של עפרה חזה
    התמונה של עפרה חזה
    Ofra Haza
    (Photo: GettyImages)
    "Like a call to prayer, the opening phrase of Ofra Haza’s 1984 song 'Im Nin’alu' is instantly transportive, sweeping the listener up in her expressive, fluttery mezzo-soprano," the magazine wrote.
    "When U.K. production duo Coldcut sampled that passage on their landmark 1987 remix of Eric B. & Rakim’s 'Paid in Full,' it was a cross-cultural masterstroke that helped bring the Israeli singer’s unmistakable voice to the pop mainstream."
    "Inspired by her Yemeni-Jewish ancestry, Haza combined traditional vocal conventions with modern technique to create something that felt at once ancient and ahead of its time. On albums like 1984’s Shirei Teiman, 1988’s Shaday, and 1992’s Kirya, her unprecedented splash in the U.S. pop market cemented her status as 'The Madonna of the Middle East.' —I.W."
    Haza was born on November 19, 1957, in the Tel Aviv neighborhood of Shechunat Hatikvah to an impoverished family of nine children (six sisters and two brothers). Her parents Yefet and Shoshana Haza were Mizrahi Jewish who immigrated from Yemen.
    2 View gallery
    עפרה חזה
    עפרה חזה
    Ofra Haza
    (Photo: Israel San)
    At 19 years old, Haza blew onto the scene and quickly became one of the most recognized faces in Israeli pop. In 1979, Haza completed her mandated Israeli military service. Her successful career continued well into the '80s and '90s.
    The top 10 spots were sealed by Al Green, Otis Redding, Beyoncé, Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Mariah Carey, Billie Holiday, Sam Cooke, and Whitney Houston, with Aretha Franklin being named the greatest of all time by the magazine.
    Comments
    The commenter agrees to the privacy policy of Ynet News and agrees not to submit comments that violate the terms of use, including incitement, libel and expressions that exceed the accepted norms of freedom of speech.