"Give Peace A Dance"
The joy to the world of the Israeli-American singer: Zmira
by Gad Nahshon
Give Peace A Dance is a new CD just released for the joy of the Jewish people and others who live all over the world. It is not just one more CD, it is an epitome of a new concept of joy and happiness, a new expression of hope for the victory of peace in the Middle East, peace forever in the next century. This new concept Give Peace A Dance is the brainchild of the international acclaim and the Israeli-American singer and songwriter, Zmira Chen or, Zmira.
Zmira has influenced the world of the Israeli music and culture. She has been a popular singer is Israel and the U.S.A. as well. She is also a woman for all seasons. Her personality radiates sophistication and love for any human being. Zmira has a good soul. These virtues have always been manifested in her long international musical career. She is very popular in this country today. She has performed for many Jewish organizations such as Hadassah, for example. In her westside cozy apartment, Zmira explained the concept of her new CD, which certainly has great potential to be a hit and is in great demand, at least in the American market. Zmira remarked: "I pray for peace in songs, music and dance. I am a singer and songwriter so I can contribute to the peace accord and process by music and dance.
Give Peace a Dance is a collection of many well known songs such as Hava Nagila, Next Year, or Rosa Rosa. This CD is essentially dance music with new arrangements. I sing in Hebrew and English. This CD calls for non-stop celebration and joy to the world. It is the way to combat with our fears, qualms, and tensions as to the realization of a true long-lasting peace in the Middle East. This CD is also a great way to celebrate the vibrant existence and rich heritage of Israel. It is an expression of the Israeli's unique soul and warmth. When you listen to this CD, you must rise and dance. This is a non-stop dance. One song leads to another. It mobilizes anyone to dance and dance. Well, it is also a sort of aerobic dance…"
This CD radiates the soul and warmth of Zmira, a singer in ten languages, a sensitive, popular, lyricist, and a great composer, as well. Certainly Give Peace A Dance is the best of the Israeli-Jewish disco music. It is a non-stop party dance, a mix of Israel's most popular songs. This CD will lift your spirit. It brings joy and happiness, or in Yiddish "Simanos." This CD radiates a contagiously energetic beat.
Indeed you would like to learn about Zmira, who again contributed a CD to the world of Jewish music and dance. Zmira noted: "First let me point out that I composed only one song for this CD. Its title is A Celebration Night. This song is the epitome of my concept of this CD. This song calls for life, love, joy and happiness. Secondly, this CD is a new stage in my long career. It is my first CD of dance music. Third, I developed a new formula of Israel's classical songs. Why? Because I decided to build a new bridge to the American-Jewish young generation. I want to link them through music and dance to our Jewish rich traditions. I want to help them coming back to their roots. And nothing is more important to me, personally, than these roots, this heritage and Jewish traditions. I do believe that we must preserve our heritage. And, of course, our ethnic heritage. For example, I was born in Tel Aviv, but I grew up as a child in a house that always had preserved our family heritage. My family came to Israel from Libya. As you know, most of the Jews from Libya made Aliyah to Israel," said Zmira, who shuttles between the USA and Israel because she must keep in touch with her family and her roots.
Well, Zmira tells me that her life was not easy. She is a daughter of a family of 12. And she had to work in order to support her family from the age of 13. But she made it with the power of her will and excellent talents. She received a recognition as a singer and songwriter after she was left the I.D.F. as a singer of a military entertainment group. Then she helped to build the career of other famous singers. She explained: "I was a singer and an actress on the Israeli stage. Then I wrote famous songs such as Pamela or Sea of Tears."
Later she developed her international career. She achieved everything with her own hand. She has overcome her troubles. It should be noted that Zmira always likes to point out that her late father, Rabbi Nissim Haiun, a teacher and a well known Cantor, had influenced her life and musical career as well. He taught her the heritage of the Jews of Libya. He told her to preserve that beautiful ethnic heritage. There are no Jews in Libya anymore. But their tradition still exists and must be preserved.
Zmira never will forget her father's spiritual will. She said: "I always felt a commitment to my ethnic heritage. Indeed, I am willing to help to preserve all of our ethnic heritages - the Sephardic or the Ashkenazi ones. I love the ethnic Israeli mosaic, colorful melting pot. I cherish Israel's multi-ethnic cultures. I enjoy it. This is a unique fountain of creations." Indeed, in 1971, Zmira produced a record of songs from Libya.
The record, in Hebrew, "Yonati Tamati" made history: Ethnic is beauty." This record was dedicated, in principle, to her father Rabbi Haiun. Zmira explained: "After his death, I felt a new urge to reinforce my Libyan ethnic roots. I felt a strong commitment to preserve the legacy of my father, to go on with his cultural ethnic wishes." But Zmira proudly stressed the fact: "My international great fame is originated with my links to a different kind of ethnic culture. The Russian Jewish ethnic modern heritage. This is the story of Zionism in Soviet Russia. It is the story of Prisoners of Zion. This is the story of the Jewish struggle for freedom since 1967."
Zmira is the famous singer of the Hebrew song from Russia Blue and White, (The Colors Of The Israeli National Flag). Zmira met some Jews in 1970 who managed to escape from the U.S.S.R. and made Aliyah to Israel. Zmira came across Zionist songs from Russia who were composed, secretly, over there. Forbidden songs! These songs were smuggled to the west and Israel. Zmira collected them and produced her record entitled Let My People Go. Zmira recorded the song Blue and White which was the anthem of the Jews in Russia whose dream was to go to Israel. Zmira then became an international star. The song, which was composed by a Russian Jew, Israel Rashel, became a hit, a popular international song. Zmira performed with this song all over the world. She was the voice and the crying out of the Jews in the former Soviet Union Republic. She expressed the prayer of these prisoners of Zion in the West helping to mobilize public opinion for the right of Jews to emigrate from U.S.S.R since 1968.
If you want to hear Zmira, you should call Miratone International (212) 265-4749. We should also point out that Zmira, after her military service, started to appear in the Israeli theatre. Her varied talents included major roles in the musical hits, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and Ester Hamalka. She received critical acclaim for her drama roles in Shakespeare's Richard III and Noel Coward's Hay Fever. She captured the public's hearts with her one-woman show, Let My People Go dedicated to Russian Jewry. The productions, which she also directed and produced, was based on songs, poems, and stories that were written by Jews in Russia, and was a monumental success. Blue and White, one of the songs from the soundtrack, became tremendously popular in the United States. Zmira has established herself as a concert performer in Israel, Europe, South America, the Far East, Canada, and the United States. She is also an accomplished nightclub entertainer. Her vast international repertoire encompasses ten languages, five of which she speaks fluently.
A prolific songwriter, Zmira has written and published many songs that were recorded by the most famous singers in Israel. She is as well known a songwriter as a vocalist and has made seven hit recordings. She wrote all the lyrics and most of the music for the ballads and love songs on her release, No Change of Heart.
Zmira is also a great performer. She has a style. She presents the beauty of our folklore. she is a beautiful elegant star who sings in Hebrew, English, Ladino, and Arabic, to mention a few. She presents to us in her CD's or records or live stirring performances, the best of the Israeli or the Jewish tradition. And she loves to sing in Yiddish, as well.
After Give Peace a Dance, Zmira is planning to produce two more CD's. One of Ladino songs, and the other of Yiddish songs. "I am from a Libyan family in Israel but I love the Yiddish heritage, as well. I developed a new formula for these CD's. They will relate to the young Jewish generations. I am going to speak their language and taste. These CD's will push them back to their Jewish roots. I will use their rhythms. I will cook it for their young ears," promised Zmira who, by the way, is working on her first book Jewish-Libyan Cuisine. "Well, these dishes are based on what my mother taught me" said Zmira who loves to link all the Jews to their own heritage and to Israel's multi-ethnic beauty, to the country that she cherishes, to her roots.
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