b. Yosefa Dahari, 13 January 1971, Eilat, Israel. Yosefa grew up hearing the music of the Arabic Middle East and North Africa from her parents (her father was originally from Yemen, her mother from Morocco), and she began singing while serving in the army. On one occasion, while stationed next to the border with Lebanon, she performed Arabic folk songs and gained a round of applause from the other side of the fence. Responses such as this encouraged her to explore her Arabic musical roots and after she had completed her national service, she became a professional singer. While many of her contemporaries have looked solely to the west for their musical inspiration, Yosefa has sought to mix western dance music styles, such as rap and soul, with the traditional vocals and rhythms of the Middle East. Her albums, Yosefa, released in 1994 and now deleted, and The Desert Speaks, released a year later, have sometimes veered too close to blandness. However, at its best, Yosefa’s music represents a genuine mixture of the disparate cultural influences that make up the sound of modern Israel.
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