Ofra Haza | Shaday

The Madonna of the East

Bat-Sheva Ofra Haza-Ashkenazi, known professionally as Ofra Haza (November 19, 1957 – February 23, 2000) was an Israeli singer, actress, and Grammy Award-nominee recording artist, commonly known as "The Israeli Madonna". Her voice has been described as a "tender" mezzo-soprano.

Haza's music is a mixture of traditional and commercial singing styles, fusing elements of Eastern and Western instrumentation, orchestration, and dance-beat. During her singing career, she became successful in Europe and the Americas; she earned many platinum and gold discs.

Ofra was born in Tel Aviv, Israel, to Yemeni-Jewish parents who immigrated to Israel. She was the youngest of nine children and raised in a Masorti household in the Hatikva Quarter, then an impoverished neighborhood of Tel Aviv.

At age 12, Haza joined a local theater troupe, and manager Bezalel Aloni noticed her singing talent. He staged many of his productions around her and later became her manager and mentor. At 19, she was Israel's foremost pop star, and music journalists retrospectively described her as "the Madonna of the East".

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