Israel – In a tense political situation between Israel and Iran, the Iran-born Israeli singer Rita Yahan Farouz, who represented Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest 1990, has recorded an album in Hebrew and Persian (Farsi). “Ha’Smachot Shellanu” (“Our Joys”) has already reached gold status in Israel. Most of her family and friends were very sceptical about the project. “‘They all said, ‘You want to record an album in the language of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? Who will listen to it?’ I didn’t know why I had to do it, I just did. It’s like someone lit a match. What’s happening now is beyond what I ever imagined,” Rita explained.
However, the album has transcendet cultural and political lines and is also a big success in Iran. There Israeli music is strictly forbidden, but CD shops selling the album illegally report high demand. “Music from Israel is interesting because it comes from the epitome of evil – people are curious,” said Liora Hendelmann-Baavur, expert in Iranian popular culture at Tel Aviv University. The Iranian government has called Rita a new “plot in a soft war” by Israel.
Rita is one of the most popular singers in Israel and due to her origins is considered a cultural embassador between the two enemy countries. She was born in Thereran in 1962 and then moved to Israel with her family in 1970. She is part of the community of Iranian-born Jews in Israel. For her the disc is less a political statement than a return to her roots.
Here is Rita’s Eurovision entry Shara Barechovot:
- UK: BBC Spent 425,000 € on Eurovision 2012 (eurovisiontimes.wordpress.com)
- FAQ: Can the Vatican Participate in the Eurovision Song Contest? (eurovisiontimes.wordpress.com)
- Malmö 2013: Israel Threatens to Withdraw (eurovisiontimes.wordpress.com)
- Rita’s music succeeds where diplomacy can’t – getting Israel and Iran to agree (guardian.co.uk)
Source= The Guardian