Shoshana Damari’s lush voice and her fusion of Eastern and Western musical aesthetics made her the voice of a generation in Israeli music. Damari joined the Shulamit acting studio at age thirteen, performing publically and singing on Kol Yerushalayim radio by fourteen and giving her first solo concert at seventeen. In 1944 she joined the satirical acting troupe Li La Lo and began singing what became her signature tune, “Kalaniyot” (Poppies). Moshe Wilensky, who composed for Li La Lo, crafted songs that merged Eastern and Western traditions to play up Damari’s Yemenite background and her distinctive delivery. After the declaration of the State of Israeli, Damari visited the detention camps at Cypress, where her performances of Hebrew and Yiddish tunes moved the audience to tears. Damari recorded dozens of albums and over a thousand songs in her career. In 1955 she made her first movie, Hill 24 Doesn’t Answer, followed by a dramatization of her own family’s Aliyah, Hatikvah, the following year. For the next two decades, she performed around the world to enthusiastic crowds, and in 1988 she was awarded the Israel Prize for her contributions to Israeli music and culture. Mourners carried poppies at her funeral in her honor.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Shoshana Damari." (Viewed on March 1, 2021) <https://jwa.org/people/damari-shoshana>.