Nov. 19, 1957 - Feb. 23, 2000.
Ofra Haza was born in 1957 to a Jewish-Yemenite family in Israel. Her career began at the tender age of 12 when she joined the Hatikva Theater. Her manager, Bezalel Aloni, quickly recognized her talents and by the time she reached 20, her solo career was firmly established.
Ofra experienced phenonmenal success in Israel
and racked up over a dozen gold and platinum albums. By 1985, it was time for her to make her presence known on the international scene. That year she released Yemenite Songs
. The rap/hip-hop/dance community became aware of her vocal prowess and her beautiful and haunting voice was featured on dance remixes by M/A/R/R/S and Eric B. and Rakim
Ofra must have enjoyed the success that international acclaim brought her. Israel's late prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, requested that Ofra perform at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo in December 1994. She also had #1 hits all over Europe and several more of her albums reached platinum status. In 1992 she collaborated with producer Don Was and released Kirya
. The album was nominated for a Grammy Award. The raw sensuality of her voice and lyrics were a perfect fit for romantic movie soundtracks like Wild Orchid and Queen Margot. More recently, she was featured on the soundtrack for Prince of Egypt and the Minnie Driver
arthouse flop "The Governess".
When Ofra fell ill, her fans held vigil outside of the hospital in which she stayed. When she died at the age of 41, fans all over the world mourned her loss.
Although Ofra died of AIDS
related causes, members her family suspected foul play and have petitioned to have the case re-opened. In recent months they have hired attorney and a private investigator. Some statements they have released suggest that her husband, Doron Ashkenazi, may have been involved. Ofra had no children.