Shoshana Damari moved with her family from Damar, Yemen, to Eretz
Yisrael in 1924. As a child she performed at weddings with her mother, and at age 14 she began to sing on the radio. She studied acting and singing, started appearing in theaters later in her teens, and subsequently became famous as a singer. Her strong alto voice with its Yemenite intonation became well-known, particularly in her performances before and in the years following the establishment of the State. She is also famous for her performance of many songs by composer Moshe Vilensky, chief among them Kalaniyot (Anemones).
first record was released in 1948,” according
to the Jerusalem
Post. “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.”
Damari was awarded the Israel
Prize in 1988 for her contribution to Israeli
vocal music and continues to appear occasionally
Damari died of pneumonia in a Tel
Aviv hospital on February 14, 2006. She was 83.
Following her death, the Knesset
and Beit Hanassi also released a statement saying
“Her voice unified the whole nation and spread optimism
The Defense Ministry recalled
how she accompanied many of Israel's wars by performing
before many soldiers, raising their morale, saying
“Her voice and songs will reverberate in the soldiers'
ears for many more years.”
Sources: JTA, Jerusalem Post, (February 14, 2006), Jewish Agency