Meeting Ofra Haza – Part 1

by Connie Louise Katz

I met Ofra Haza in the spring of 1991 when I interviewed her for this magazine article. I found her to be a warm, friendly and passionate woman. I was excited to meet the woman whose songs and singing voice evoked such emotion and depth of soul.

Haza gave me a cassette to listen to her album m ” Desert Wind ,” which began my 14-year discovery of her extensive musical repertoire. During this period I’ve enhanced my appreciation of her music by combining music with dance.

I have been participating in Israeli folk dancing for many years. During this period, I’ve discovered numerous dances that are choreographed to some of Ofra Haza’s songs.

In 1999, I choreographed a folk dance to Haza’s song Fatamorgana . She described the story behind the song:

” The story is of both our mothers, Bezalel Aloni’s and mine and their wanderings in the Yemenite desert, until their coming to Israel . Both were little girls, around 13, 14, and were already mothers. Even though they needed mothers themselves. And, only their strong, mystic longing for Zion – Jerusalem ” kept them alive on their hard journey through the desert. Bezalel’s mother, may she rest in peace, passed away. But my mother, who I hope lives to be a hundred and twenty, is by my side always, with her singing.”

In honor of Haza, her mother, and Aloni’s mother, I called my dance B’not Hamidbar (Daughters of the Desert.) The dance premiered at Ramah Rikkudiah folkdance camp in California in January 2001. Tragically, Ofra Haza died on February 23, 2000 . Therefore, I dedicated B’not Hamidbar to Ofra Haza.

 

The article “Desert Songbird,” about Ofra Haza, which appeared in Lifestyles Magazine in 1991. It is reprinted here by permission of Lifestyles and author Connie Louise Katz for presentation in Daughter of The Arts.

The article “Desert Songbird,” about Ofra Haza, appeared in Lifestyles Magazinein 1991. It is reprinted here by permission of Lifestyles and author Connie Louise Katz for presentation in Daughter Of The Arts .
About the Author

 

Dances and music mentioned in “Meeting Ofra Haza” may be found at the following link

Audio
Ofra Haza Singing “Fatamorgana” 
Video
Israeli Dance Video Of Bnot Hamidbar
Audio
Ofra Haza Singing “Middle East
Video
Israeli Dance Video Of Middle East
Audio
Ofra Haza Singing “Flash Gordon
Video
Israeli Dance Video Of Flash Gordon

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