Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Ofra Haza

I was Googling my way around Das Internetz yesterday, searching for info on some of the disco divas I'd been listening to on Sunday night, when I found the Disco Museum.

I know this sounds a bit morbid, but I was trawling my way through the Disco Mausoleum section reading all the obituaries of performers and producers who had gone to that great big dance hall in the sky. (One thing that becomes immediately clear is the affect that AIDS had on the music industry, so many young people cut down in their prime!) I was scrolling through when I was surprised to find an obituary for Ofra Haza.



I never knew much about her, but was intrigued by her after hearing her traditional Yemeni vocals sampled on a number of '80s dance tracks, most famously on Erik B & Rakim's house track "Paid In Full" and then on "Pump Up The Volume". She reached a sort of cult status in the '80s, especially in the UK dance scene. I didn't realise that she had also perfomed on Eurovision in 1983.

It seems she passed away in 2000 at the age of 41. Obituaries in her homeland stated that she and her family refused to disclose the nature of her disease, only saying that she had died of massive organ failure. However other sources say she died from complications related to AIDS. So sad, I'm sure that her story is a complicated and fascinating one.

11 comments:

yaniboy said...

Damn, I was only listening to her Kirya album last week!

thombeau said...

She was fabulous.

The Other Andrew said...

Indeed she was.

Yaniboy, I haven't heard that album. Good?

jason said...

I had no idea. I had only a vague memory of her death.

So sad.
She was wonderful

The Other Andrew said...

Jason, she certainly was. The first time I heard Paid In Full and Pump Up The Volume I was smitten with her sound.

yaniboy said...

It's not bad Andrew... more "Middle Eastern" rather than 90's techno or anything. I will say that it you're in the market for something sexy and Middle Eastern, check out Natasha Atlas rather than Ofra (she's good, Nat is better ;P)

worldpeace and a speedboat said...

oh, how sad, I loved that sample on Pump Up the Volume, one of the best dance tracks ever ever ever.

and she was so beautiful!

freakgirl said...

I loved her. I remember being shocked upon learning of her death. RIP.

thombeau said...

I must agree with Yaniboy, Natasha Atlas is awesome!

John C said...

Natacha rules. Ofra was also on the Sisters of Mercy reworking of Temple of Love.

I also recommend Sussan Deyhim, an amazing Iranian singer who's been resident in NYC for years. Unfortunately her best CD, Majoun (with Richard Horowitz) is deleted.

The Other Andrew said...

Thanks for the recommendations everyone, I have some new CDs to look out for!