Damari Shoshana (1923 - 2006)

Singer, Israel Prize Laureate

Shoshana Damari Copyright Haaretz  

Shoshana Damari moved with her family from Damar, Yemen, to Eretz Yisrael in 1924, following antisemitic persecution in Yemen, arriving by sea from the port of Aden. As a child she performed at weddings with her mother, and at age 14 she followed her elder brother into a musical career, when she began to sing on Radio Kol Yerushalayim. She married her manager, Shlomo Bosmi, when she was 16.

Shoshana Damari studied acting and singing, started appearing in theaters later in her teens, in musicals such as "Li-La-Lo" 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 became famous for her distinctive voice and style, as well as for her performance of many songs by the poet Natan Alterman, set  to music by composer Moshe Vilensky, chief among them Kalaniyot (Anemones, or Cyclamen) "כלניות". The partnership continued, and Vilensky created special compositions for Shoshana Damari.

Shoshana Damari cut her first record in 1948 and appeared before the troops during the War of Independence, continuing afterwards with concerts around Israel and worldwide. From 1951, she divided her time between the Israel and the USA for the 16 years, appearing in major venues, such as Carnegie Hall. She also acted in a few Israeli films and on stage, in theater and musicals. For many years, her emphasis was on live performances, which gave her the uncontestable status as the Queen of Israeli Song. Her repertoire includes Israeli, Yemenite and Yiddish folk songs, and she influenced the style of musical development, musical "sound" and performance in Israel.

It was not until 1987 that Shoshana Damari returned to the recording studio, at the invitation of popular Yemenite singer Boaz Sharabi, to record a duet of "Lashir Itach" (To sing with you), which was written especially for her by Ehud Manor. This was soon followed by a new album, entitled "Or" (Light), with accompaniment by the Haifa Philharmonic Orchestra.
Shoshana Damari remained an uncontested "musical legend" on the Israeli musical scene and was awarded the Israel Prize in 1988 for "her contribution to Israeli vocal music", continuing to give occasional live performances. In 2001, Israeli artistes celebrated her contribution to Israeli music in a special concert; she has also recorded modern ethnic music and appeared on stage with the Idan Raichel Project (2002, 2005).
Further References

Description of two albums and style http://www.escape.com/~elyaqim/music/jew/s/shosdama.html
Albums, with audio clips http://www.israel-music.com/shoshana_damari/
Films http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0198617/

Biography http://www.eshkolot.co.il/artists/shoshana_damari.html
Biography, photos, discography http://www.ynet.co.il/yaan/0,7340,L-90140,00.html
Fan club site, gallery http://www.down.co.il/DBLIST/Shoshana_Damari.html
Overview http://www.nostalgia.org.il/album_details.asp?id=29

Lyrics http://mp3music.gpg.nrg.co.il/lyrics/f9e5f9f0e4_e3eee0f8e9.html
Kalaniyot http://mp3music.gpg.nrg.co.il/lyrics/1672.html 

Photograph: © Copyright  2006 Haaretz. All rights reserved





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02 May 2005 / 23 Nisan 5765 0