Israeli Mizrahi (Oriental) Music

By Gideon

The transformation  of the European influenced traditional Israeli music, and of the Middle Eastern influenced Mizrachi Israeli music, into an all inclusive “Israeli Music” symbolizes the transformation of the Israeli society from a society of new immigrants  into a vibrant, diverse, and inclusive strong Israeli society.

Mizrahi music (Oriental music) refers to a music genre in Israel that combines elements from Europe, North Africa and the Arab world, and is mainly performed by Israelis of Mizrahi descent. It is usually sung in Hebrew,, or Arabic. Mizrahi, a blend of Middle Eastern, Greek, and Western influences associated with Israelis who have roots in the Middle East. For many years, Mizrahi music was deemed primitive and generally kept off radio and TV.  However, its has been gaining popularity in the past thirty years and has become part of the mainstream Israeli culture. In many cases, songs  are “in-between” traditional mainstream Israeli music and Mizrachi music, making it difficult to classify them in one category or the other.

In celebration of Israel’s Independence Day, a selection of great Israeli songs, performed by leading Mizrachi Israeli singers is included in this article.  The songs are not ranked in any particular order. The songs at the bottom of the page are just as good as the ones at the top. 

Kshe Halev Boche (When the Heart Cries) by Sarit Hadad

Ata Totach [You are a long gun (= great in Israeli slang)] by Sarit Hadad

Ima (Mother) by Ishtar

Zachiti (I won) by Ishtar and Kobi Perez

C’est la vie by Kobi Perez

Saeni Itcha (Carry me with you) by Zehava Ben and Ofer Levy

Chomot Chemar (Mud Walls) by Zehava Ben and Margalit Zanani (Margol)

Etz Yarok meplastic (Green Plastic Tree) by Margalit Zanani (Margol)

Ya Mama (Mom) by Shimon Buskila (in Moroccan)

At Hamachar Sheli (You are my tomorrow) by Shimon Buskila

Gam Im Haolam Ithapech (Even if the world is upside down) by Moshe Perez

Shir Lamaalot (The Maalot Song) by Omer Adam

Neshama (Soul) by Lior Narkis

Nostalgic Medley by Eli Luzon

Rikud Romanti (Romantic Dance) by Ishai Levy

Erzli Hakol Beseder (I’m Okay) by Boaz Sharabi

Hallevai (I Wish) by Boaz Sharabi

Ani Nishba (I Swear) by Haim Moshe

Ten Lazman Lalechet (Let the time pass) by Haim Moshe

Tirtzi Be (You’ll want me) by Shlomi Sabat

Shetedei (That you’ll know) by Shlomi Sabat

Aba (Dad)  by Shlomi Shabat and Aviyahu Shabat

(There’s somewhat long opening conversation in Hebrew before the song. However, the song is worth the waiting)

Lechol Echad Yesh (Everyone has) by Uzi Chitman, Lior Narkis, and Shlomi Shabat