At 83, Shoshana Damari remained a symbol for an entire era of Israeli culture, during which the local music scene was born and matured. In 1988, she won the Israel Prize for Hebrew music.
Born in Yemen, Damari came to Israel as a two-year-old child in 1925; she began performing in radio skits and theatrical performances as a young adolescent.
In 1945, Natan Alterman wrote Damari the song “Kalaniyot” (anemonies), which became her signature hit. Damari’s first record was released in 1948. Over the following decades, her voice stood for the voice of a land in the process of renewal, full of optimism and hope. In the early years of the state, the singer – who was renowned for her beauty – first brought the flavor of Middle Eastern music and its guttural pronunciation to mainstream Israeli culture.
Together with Yaffa Yarkoni, Damari was also considered to be the quintessential singer for soldiers, for whom she performed in times of both war and peace during the 1960s and ’70s.
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