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Birth of Yemenite-Israeli Singer Shlomit Levi

March 9, 1983

Yemenite-Israeli singer Shlomit and RebbeSoul, 2019. Via Wikimedia Commons.

Levi was born on March 9, 1983, in Kiryat Ekron, Israel, to Yemenite Jewish parents. Her parents had left Yemen to come to Israel during Operation Magic Carpet, which airlifted 45,000 Jews out of Yemen in May 1949.  

Influenced by her mother and grandmother, Levi started singing Yemenite music when she was just three years old. As she got older, her focus shifted to Western and Israeli music, due to pressures to fit in with her peers. After her teenage years, Levi was again inspired to sing Yemenite songs when she heard singer, Ofra Haza, known for her blend of Yemeni and pop music. "Growing up, I mainly listened to rock and modern music,” Levi remembers. “But then I heard Ofra Haza's Yemenite Songs album. It was amazing, and got me back to my source and roots. I decided to combine the two things I love, rock music and my grandmother's music" (Israel National News). 

Levi toured with the group Orphaned Land, an Israeli heavy metal band, from 2004 to 2012. The group is considered “one of the world's most unique, trailblazing heavy metal bands” (All Music). Levi sang on six of Orphaned Land’s albums: Mabool (2004), Sentenced/Orphaned Land (2005), Ararat EP (2005), The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR (2010), The Road to OR-Shalem (2011), and Unsung Prophets And Dead Messiahs (2018).  

In 2011, Levi began collaborating with Jewish American musician Bruce Burger; together they are known as Shlomit & RebbeSoul. Levi’s work with RebbeSoul further exhibits her commitment to breaking boundaries; the duo creatively merges traditional Yemenite music with modern electronica and rock. In 2015 they released an album, The Seal of Solomon. Burger and Levi also collaborated with George Simaan, an oudist; together they sang the Hebrew love song “Erev Shel Shoshanim”. 

Levi moved to the United States in 2013. She is married to Boaz Arzi, with whom she has a daughter, Agam.  

Sources: 

Bresky, Ben. “Jewish Yememite Revival Music with Shlomit Levi.” Israel National News, October 25, 2012. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/news/161261#.V2c4bKISLIV.  

“Erev Shel Shoshanim.” Wikipedia, December 28, 2022. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erev_Shel_Shoshanim

“Immigration to Israel. Operation Magic Carpet - Airlift of Yemenite Jews.” Accessed March 6, 2023. https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/operation-magic-carpet-airlift-of-yemenite-jews.  

“Orphaned Land Biography, Songs, & Albums.” AllMusic. Accessed March 6, 2023. https://www.allmusic.com/artist/orphaned-land-mn0000892894/biography.  

“World Music Singer.” Shlomit Levi. Accessed March 6, 2023. https://www.shlomitlevi.com/.  

Yudelson, Larry. “Connecting through Music.” The Jewish Standard, April 24, 2015. https://jewishstandard.timesofisrael.com/connecting-through-music/

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Birth of Yemenite-Israeli Singer Shlomit Levi." (Viewed on March 5, 2024) <http://jwa.org/thisweek/mar/09/1983/birth-yemenite-israeli-singer-shlomit-levi>.