Intro to Israeli Mizrahit Music Mix feat Sarit Hadad, Zehava Ben, Eyal Golan, Ishtar (aka Alabina) w/ Kobi Peretz, Bat-El Tohar, and Rita

Simcha Mizrahit by Ron Aaron Sager on Mixcloud

Mizrahi music or Mizrahit is a combination of all the folk/ethnic music that was brought to Israel by Jewish immigrants coming from the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia. Even India can be included in this category as there are Jews who came from India to Israel. However, the most obvious influence in Mizrahi music is a melange of Turkish, Greek and Arabic music that has been adapted to suit the Israeli taste of music. There is a predilection for happy feel-good songs but sad and somber songs also dominate the genre specially when looking to provide relief for broken hearts and life turning events such as a daughter or son leaving the house after getting married. A good Mizrahi singer is one that can also sing in other languages than Hebrew that are related to the genre such as Arabic, Greek, Persian, etc. Usually if a Mizrahi singer is from let’s say Moroccan background, yo are likely to hear them sing in some type of Arabic dialect whether it is their indigenous one or another from let’s say Egypt or Iraq. Some singers only sing in one language be it Hebrew, Arabic, Greek, etc.

The songs of this mix include the following titles:

1. Sarit Hadad – Do you love me? (A cover to a Lebanese song by the same title. The Sarit Hadad version is more upbeat and less throaty. More danceable too. The Arabic language part has been replaced by Hebrew.)
2. Zehava Ben – Kaze Romanti (Romatic like this…) is a song by Zehava Ben who probably has the strongest and best voice out of any female singers of the genre. She is usually known for sad songs but now makes more happy songs and not as tragic ballads as she used to. However, the drama and emotion are still there as that is an inseparable part of her persona.
3. Eyal Golan – Osher Amiti (True Happiness) is a song by Eyal Golan who is by far the most successful and renown singer of the genre in Israel. He is a major celebrity in Israel and enjoys a huge following both at home and abroad.
4. Ishtar (aka Alabina) in a duet with Kobi Peretz – Yakhad (Together) – This song was a major hit in Israel. Ishtar or Alabina (real name: Etti Zakh) is a very talented singer who is more known for her Arabic singing along with an ensemble of gypsy singers who usually co-sing with her. She sings the Arabic part of the songs and they sing in Spanish. However, recently she has begun to sing more solo and this song is part of that more solo part of her. This duet is in Arabic and Hebrew in which the two singers alternate between Hebrew and Arabic with most of the Arabic sung by here and the Hebrew by Kobi Peretz. Kobi Peretz is also a very famous singer of the genre.
5. Sarit Hadad – Sameakh (Happy, Joyful) is a very catchy song by Mizrahit super star Sarit Hadad. She has had a more consistent career than Zehava Ben and outshining her because of that. Zehava Ben, on the other hand, has had a lot of ups and downs but seems to have reestablished herself as the all time Queen of Mizrahit.
6. Zehava Ben – Aluf Sheli (My Champion) is an extremely upbeat song of Zehava Ben with a rather marked Egyptian music arrangement style.
7. Ishtar (aka Alabina) – Allah Alek Ya Sidi (Well done Master) is a cover of an Arabic song by Egyptian singer Ehab Tawkfik. Her version is as good or better. She brings such passion into her rendering of Arabic songs!
8. Bat El-Tohar – Rak Tagid (Just tell me…) is a song by an upcoming singer of the genre who has become quite popular particularly in the Beer-Sheva area in Israel. She has a very sweet voice that makes you want to listen to her more and more.
9. Rita – Shane (‘Hair Comb’ in Persian) is a rendering of a famous Persian song by the same title originally sung by Vigen & Pooran. The song is part of Rita’s Persian songs album called in Hebrew “HaSmakhot Sheli” (My joys…) An immensely popular pop singer in Israel who was originally born in Tehran, Iran decided to record the album in dedication to her Persian roots. It proved to be a huge hit with Israeli and Iranian audiences alike.

More info and songs from these artists will be posted…

Kanykei II – Mol Bulak/Kopolok (Butterfly)/Adashtym (Mistake)

[All the songs in this post are found in the iTunes link above.]

In this second posting about Kanykei, we showcase a few more of her clips and elaborate a little bit more about her. Kanykei is known for her flashy image that is not only striking in the eyes, but also in thought. Once you see her, you will probably not forget her because of her dashing eye make-up style a la Lady Gaga or her voice very reminiscent of Shakira. It is not that she is trying to sound like anyone as several female singers from this region of the world have voices that have the Shakira quality of voice and tone. Female Central Asian singers from Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan naturally can have that type of singing voice. Kanykei is the Kyrgyz equivalent of that Shakiraesque type of voice whereas Ziyoda would be the Uzbek equivalent. In real life, Kanykei prefers a simpler style and not as much make-up; however, her fashion style is immaculate and she possesses her own style of dressing blending modern cutting-edge outfits with Kyrgyz elements making her look unique and stunning. Not much is known about her private life as she has declared that she prefers to keep a veil of secrecy around her personal and family life. This is fact adds to the aura of mystery around her stage presence as well as her day-to-day look.

Aminata Wassidjé Traoré-Tamala/Alfouleyla/Tamacheq

Aminata invokes and embodies the strong spirit of the Subsaharan woman wanting to send a new message to both the old and new generations of people in her native Mali.

Per Aminata’s website at:

Aminata Wassidjé Traoré is a rising voice in Mali. Tamala is her debut album, recorded in Bamako between 2000 and 2008. Born in Diré, near the fabled city of Timbuktu, Ami was raised within northern Mali’s rich cultural brew. From an Ethnic Songhai family, Ami started singing as a young child. Her music, like the environment that surrounded her growing up in Diré, near Timbuktu, incorporates various cultures and traditions. On Tamala, an album she self produced with the help of artist Mamadou Kelly and arranger Baba Simaga, she sings in Songhai and Tamasheq.

While northern Mali still suffers the repercussions of religious and ethnic warfare, Tamala sends a message of reconciliation and inclusion. Ami believes people can work together for a solution, she sees the vast potential of Mali’s diverse north. Moving to the Southern capital of Bamako not only enabled her to develop as a musician, backing up well known artists like Baba Salah, Khaira Arby and Afel Bocoum, it also enhanced her vision of a diverse and connected Mali.

Tamala is considered a modern-traditional album in Mali: it is rooted in northern folk musical traditions, but arranged in a contemporary way. it was conceived locally, for a Malian audience, and shines in its subtle simplicity. This album is also the first collaboration between Paul Chandler’s Studio Mali and Akwaaba Music.

Olonkho-Yakut (Sakha) Myth of Creation

This is a rather interesting video clip showing the Yakut people’s tale of Creation:

The plot of the presentation videofilm «Olonkholand»

The message of the presentation: to settle the Earth is the celestial mission of man.

The plot of short video film is based on the legend of Yakut Epic — Olonkho «Ayr Sogotokh» (Lonely Man).

The film begins with shots of an UFO traveling through space and in the spaceship there is a baby onboard. It is Ayr Sogotokh (Lonely Man), sent from the Upper World to settle the Earth, and it is from him that the human race originates. The ship lands on Earth.

It is the Ice Age and the UFO makes attempts to land on places with thawed patches, valleys, etc. These are referred to as ‘alaas’ in the epic. In one of the thawed patches, the UFO leaves a baby named Ayr Sogotokh. As the hero in the epic, he grows up quickly and observes how in the middle of his ‘alaas,’ the World Tree, ‘Aal Luuk Mas,’ grows. Anxiously, he awaits and has questions in his mind such as who is it, where does it come from and for what. He proceeds to prostrate himself to the ‘Aal Luuk Mas.’

From the ‘Aal Luuk Mas,’ the Spirit-Genie Aan Alakhchyn Khotun appears and says to him: “You — are the ‘Bogatyr’ (knight) Ayr Sogotokh, who has been sent from the sky. You have been sent from above to populate the Earth, to arrange settlements, and for the reproduction of humans.”

After knowing what his mission is, he finds a wild horse and proceeds to tame it. He then goes into a heroic campaign in order to find and retrieve his betrothed. Crossing high ridges, he discovers winter by snow, summer by rain, and flies over a fiery sea until he reaches a wonderful ‘alaas.’ It is there that from the sky his betrothed Khotuna comes down in the form of a bird: a white crane. She gives him a symbol of man’s power: a silver whip.

Together with his wife he comes back to his ‘alaas.’ Ayr Sogotokh prepares a settlement, in which he erects a sacral complex called tysylge inside it there is a ritual ‘yurt,’ (a kind of tent found across modern Mongolia, Central Asian nations, and in certain regions of Russia belonging to related ethnic groups) Mogul Urasa. In the center of ‘yurt’ he disperses ‘kumis’ (fermented milk from a mare), and goes into a state of meditation and praying called ‘algys.’ During his trance, he sees other ‘alaases’ such as valleys and plains with sacral constructions — Stonehenge, Arkaim, Temple of Heaven, and so on.

He sees the future of his valley, and in an incantation he repeats the following words: “…let the crystal palaces be raised from Khangalassky Cape to Tabaginsky Cape as the pointed up arrows shall lead to straight roads, and happy children shall be born, and the human race shall expand…”

From the south, in the wintering grounds of white cranes, a flock of them takes flight to the place where the ‘Bogatyr’ comes from: Olonkho (‘Olonkho’land refers to modern day Siberia right about where the Sakha Republic is). The flock is flying back to the nest back home in the north, flying over the Great Chinese Wall and the Siberian rivers in their way home.
The sacred birds of Yakut people, white crane fly over Ayr Sogotokh’s ‘yurt.’ More and more children are born and seen leaving for the open fields, filling the ‘alaas’ with children’s laughter. The children that are seen running from a yurt run to the sacral ‘tysylge’ where their father arranges a ‘kumis’ festival (fermented mare’s milk), an ‘ysyakh’ (a type of communal service with shamanistic origins that is meant to bless the community) and arranges an ‘algys.’
A modern day ‘tysylge’ is shown with modern cities and biospheres with whole cities inside of them. From a clearing outside the biosphere, a UFO is seen taking flight to outer space with an unknown destination; however, as it leaves Earth, a trail of bright lights going in an upward arrow-like motion lights up the Earth’s atmosphere as the UFO exits the Earth. This implies that the UFO is on its way to populate other worlds out there in space…

Aggeliki Iliadi – Magkia Mou (My Courage) / Xilies Kai Mia Nixtes (1001 Nights) / Tora Ti Thes (Now What?) / Hamogelo Kai Proxorao (I smile and move on) / Traumatismene Mou ‘Erota (Wounded, My Love)

Aggeliki Iliadi was born on September 16, 1977 in Athens. From an early age she learned to love folk singing and her “teacher” was none other than the grand dame of Greek folk song, and grandmother of Angeliki, Katy Grey.

With her grandmother, Katy Grey, she made her first duet and thus starting the singing career immediately after finishing school. Her first professional appearance in public was in 1995 at the Posidonio Music Hall in Attiki, Greecer in which she appeared along with the great Greek singers Angelos and Stelios Dionysiou.

The dazzling stage presence combined with the charismatic voice she inherited from her grandmother quickly led to collaborations with important names of Greek music such as Notis Sfakianakis, Vasilis Karras , Natasha Theodoridou , George Mazonakis , Despina Vandi , Angie Samiou , Gerasimos Andreatos and Pizza Papadopoulou , and more recent collaborations with Antonis Remos and Sakis Rouvas .

Her first album released in 2003 titled “The Loneliness I fear” (Τη Μοναξιά Φοβάμαι – Ti Monahia Fovamai) with music and by Costas Miliotaki and lyrics by Falara Panos Kosma and Evitas Bourma , while in the summer of the same year with great success she sang at the Mouses club in the Greek city of Thessaloniki Muses earning her the public’s admiration.

In 2004, followed the second studio album entitled “One Year Together” (Ένα Χρόνο Μαζί – ‘Ena Hrono Mazi), while a year later in the winter of 2005 the album titled “Now What?” (Τώρα Τι Θες – Tora Ti Thes) was released with music by Miliotaki Costas , Giorgou Kafetzopoulos , Harry K and Stamatis Gonidi. Whereas the lyrics of the disc were curated by Ilias Filippou , Stamatis Gonidis, Dimitris Tsiafas , Vicky Gerothodorou and Panos Falaras . Of the 13 songs on the album, the ones that stood out were the title track and the first single entitled “My Angel and Tramp” (Άγγελε Μου Και Αλήτη – ‘Angele Mou Kai Aliti).

In 2006, Aggeliki Illiadi made a comeback with her 4th album, “Decision Heart” (Απόφαση Καρδιάς – Apofasi Kardias), while in 2007 the upward trend continued with the album “I never left” (Ποτέ Δεν Έφυγες – Pote Den’Efiges).

In February 2009, she released her 6th album titled “I’m talking with my heart” (Εγώ Μιλάω Με Την Καρδιά Μου – Ego Milao Me Tin Kardia Mou), while in October of the same year her success continued with the CD Single “I smile and move on” (Χαμογελώ Και Προχωράω- Hamogelo Kai Proxorao).

In 2011 is the year when Aggeliki released her 7th consecutive studio album titled “I’m Angry with Love” (Με Την Αγάπη Τα ‘Χω Βάλει – Me Tin Agapi Ta ‘Ho Balei) from which the title track single stood out as well as the songs “If I had heard” (Αν Με Είχες Ακούσει – An Me Eihes Akousei), “Only You” (Εσένα Μόνο – Esena Mono) and the hits “New Age” (Νέα Εποχή – Nea Epohi) and “The Well Spending” (Καλά Τα Περνάω – Kala Ta Pernao).That same year was highlighted by her exceptional dance skills on the Greek TV’s version of talent show “Dancing with the Stars 2” in which she won third place , after Argyris Angelou and Kostas Martakis .

In 2012, Iliadi revealed a different side of hers through the single “My Courage” (Μαγκιά Μου – Magkia Mou), while in October of the same year she continued to evolve musically and amaze the audience with the single “Wounded, My Love “(Τραυματισμένε Μου Έρωτα – Traumatismene Mou ‘Erota), a sensitive and dynamic ballad with the signature style of Dimitri Kontopoulou (music and production) and Victory Papatheohari ( lyrics ) . She was imaged in a unique piece given by the charismatic director Apollo Papatheoharis by transforming Angeliki into a femme-fatale starring in a clip that takes us to a once-upon-a-time Hollywood!