04 August 2015

Israel #2: Cliffhanging

In a blog post in my other blog, I mentioned that I got accepted into an university in Denmark. This means I will be moving in couple of weeks and then starting my studies. What does this mean to this blog? I do not know yet, but I will surely have less time. Especially around the time when I start university. I want to still keep writing this blog, but it will probably be in lesser amount. This summer I have anyway had more posts than before when I was in school, so I will be returning to the posting schedule I had previously. I think. When I am moving, I will not be having an internet connection for a bit, so it might cause problems, but we will see more about this matter when the time comes.

Wikipedia: Israel

Now to the actual post. As you can see from the flag above, and the title of this post of course, today's post features music from Israel. Israel is no stranger to this blog, since the country was already featured in a blog post last December. I have been a fan of Israel's music since I can remember, so it is not surprising that I have lots of Israeli singers to blog about. In the previous Israeli post I featured singers Shiri Maimon and Sarit Hadad, plus one more who shall serve as a continuity between these post so we will be returning to her later on in this post.

All the singers in the previous post and this one are women, so perhaps on the third Israel post (whenever that is out) I should also feature male singer/singers... Yes, definitely since Israel has got some great male artists too, even though I always tend to prefer female singers. Anyway, let's get on with this current post.

First up we have Dana International. In the previous Israel post I said that if I were to pick my favourite Israeli singer I would pick Shiri Maimon. I am not about to change my mind on that any time soon, but the spot of the runner-up goes to Dana International definitely. Dana International is the stage name of Sharon Cohen, who was born 1972 in the city of Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv is the second largest city in Israel, only behind the capital city, which of course is Jerusalem. Dana comes from a Jewish family of Romanian and Yemenite (=Yemen) descent. She started her singing career in 1992 and took on the stage after her dead childhood friend Daniel. It is always interesting to know stories behind artist names, at least I find it interesting.

I suppose it can not go unacknowledged, since it is one of the reasons what she is known for, that Dana has gone through a sex reassignment surgery in 1993 (the year she released her debut album, by the way). Dana was born as a male with a name Yaron, but discoverer that she was a transgender from a young age. According to Wikipedia, she is one of the world's best known trans women. I did not know this when I first came across her, so I was a tad bit puzzled by some YouTube comments. I checked her Wikipedia page, but still found it hard to believe, since I think she is really beautiful. The wonders of modern medicine, they always manage to get me.

But to the music! The song above is called LoveBoy. And here we go again with lack of information available, crap. I believe this song was released in 2007, though I am not completely sure. I at least have been listening to it multiple years, so it must be at least some years old. I enjoy this song quite much and find it fun and catchy. Dana sings about having a "love boy" and I am sure there is a proper English word for that, but my mind lacks. So let's just say that she has a lover (I am not sure if she has, but I mean that is what she is singing about, duh), which makes the song lyrics-wise a bit naughty.

For many Dana International is best known for participating the Eurovision Song Contest, not only once but twice. In 1998 Dana participated with the song Diva and brought home the victory. Diva is by the way, my top favourite Eurovision song. It seems obvious that I would feature it in this post, but I want to save it to my upcoming Eurovision series. But I am featuring the other Eurovision song from Dana: Ding Dong.

Being a huge fan of the song Diva and Dana too, I was excited when it was decided that she would represent Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest 2011. I already loved the song title (yeah, I am a sucker for fun song titles), and obviously ended up loving the song too. Ding Dong did not have the success of Diva, but I at least enjoy it a lot. You would not guess it from the title, but the song is actually quite calm and pretty. Well, perhaps not all that calm, but it is not jumpy and flashy disco song, like you would assume. I actually find this song lyrically and musically very beautiful and very different from Dana's usual flashy and a bit weird music.

LoveBoy is from Dana's 2007 studio album Hakol Ze Letova. Ding Dong was released as a single in 2011, but I do not think it is part of any of her albums. 2011 Eurovision collection album of course features it at least.

Next up we have a smaller scale artist: Sarai Givaty. Sarai is actually an actress, but she has also released some music, though the main focus seems to be on her acting career. Sarai was born in 1982 in a city called Tiberias, which is located by the Sea of Galilee in the Northern Israel. Sarai has been doing career in Israel and Los Angeles, with some success, though again in the acting field of which I know barely nothing about. Sarai's Facebook page describes her music as "Electrorganic Experimental". Now there is a term to get me interested!

The song from Sarai is called Into Your Heart. I first heard this song couple years ago and I loved it immediately, and still do. I usually get bored of songs fast, especially with ballads, but this manages to stay interesting. It is definitely a regular ballad; the word experimental definitely fits into hear. The song is definitely a bit weird, both lyrically and musically, but that is what makes this song interesting. And in my opinion, though the song is a bit weird, it is still beautiful and touchy. There is a combination that is hard to pull off, at least to the point where I like it, but Into Your Heart succeeds in this.

Sarai's other songs have similar styles, what it comes to experimentalism and being beautiful. Even though she has some good other songs too, in my opinion they do not come near Into Your Heart. But with such an interesting sound, it is always interesting to see what such an artist can come up with and I hope she will be making more music in the future. I always worry a bit with the term experimental, since it can go overboard easily, but Sarai's music is very much enjoyable.

So far Sarai does not have albums out, but Into Your Heart is available on her 2012 EP The Monkeys Are Here.

And now to the last artist of this post: Maya Bouskilla. Like I mentioned in the beginning, Maya is a bridge between this post and the previous Israel post. In the previous post, I already featured Maya and featured her song בוא לראות אותי ("Come See Me" in English), which I just keep on loving. Back then I wrote this: "I only now realise that somehow I have not listened to any other songs even though I really love that one. How has this happened... I really must right this wrong. I seriously like her voice so it is highly possible I'd like some others of her songs too." (Ignore the spelling mistakes, pretty please.) Well, I have righted that wrong now!

First let us give Maya a proper introduction, since I did not do that in the previous post (gosh, how much longer and better my posts have gotten in about eight months!). Maya was born in 1977 in a city Netanya. Netanya is a smaller city located between the second and third largest cities in Isreal, Tel Aviv and Haifa. Maya comes from a Moroccan-Jewish family. She was discovered when she was singing in a karaoke bar and was singed to one of Isreal's top record labels in 2003. Her debut album came a year later. Maya sings pop and soul music.

Like I said previously, I was surprised when I discovered I had not listened to more music from Maya despite my love for the song "Come See Me" (I use the English translation for clarity). After the previous post I went on to listen more music from Maya and in the preparation for this post even more. I was definitely right when I said it is highly likely that I like other songs of hers too and now I have lots of songs from her that I like. These two songs in this post in particular stood up from the crowd, though "Come See Me" still remains my favourite from Maya.

First up we have אל תוותר על, which romanizes into Al Tevater Alay and translates into "Do Not Give Up". The song was released in 2013 and it is a ballad. Maya has many ballads, and they certainly suit her voice well, but this one is in my opinion the best one. The music is brilliant; a bit dramatic and beautiful. Maya sings gorgeously and even though I do not understand a word, it feels like there is a deeper meaning in the lyrics. This is currently one of my favourite songs.

The other song from Maya is called לראות אותך מאושר, Lireo't Othch Meushar in romanization and according to Google Translate it translates into "See You Happy". This song was released last year and it is more of an uptempo song. The song is fast-paced and something in the music and the rhythm makes this song feel a bit creepy to me. Even though the title features the word happy, at least according to Google that is, it does not sound like a happy song and the black and white music video is a bit gloomy. The song is darker and dramatic, which is definitely the style that I think fits the best for Maya's voice.

For my knowledge Maya has not released any albums after the releases of these songs, so they are only available as singles.

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