Artist Details

Ofra Haza

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 before serving a compulsory two-year tour of duty in the Israeli army. Upon her discharge, in 1979 she mounted a solo career, becoming a star not only at home but also in neighboring Arab nations; in 1983, her recording of "Chai!" placed second in the annual Eurovision Song Contest.