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