AHUVA OZERI .
(photo credit: ILAN BESOR)
Ahuva Ozeri, one of the most influential figures on the Israeli eastern and Mediterranean music scene, died on Tuesday, after a 16-year battle with cancer.
Ozeri, who was also a composer and musician, started her career in the mid 1960s as a singer, and acquired quite a large following. She often sang her own songs, many of which were melancholy, reflecting loss and hardship.
She was diagnosed in 2000 with cancer of the larynx and underwent surgery. The operation put an end to her singing career, and also made it difficult for her to be heard when speaking. She had to wear a prosthesis to speak audibly.
Her condition did not preclude her from composing or playing her stringed Indian instrument, and she even put out a couple of albums.
Despite her inability to sing and her constant battle with cancer, she maintained a fairly cheerful disposition, continued to compose and also worked as a vocal coach.
Many of Israel’s so-called Mizrachi singers idolized her, asked her to write songs for them or included her old songs in their repertoires.
The cancer caught up with her in a big way three weeks ago, and she was hospitalized in the oncology department at Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer.
When the word spread that she was seriously ill with little chance of recovery, entertainers crowded around her bed, hoping to raise her spirits. This was something that she and her family found extremely moving.
On learning of Ozeri’s death, Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev said that one of the crowns of renewed Israeli culture had fallen. Even though Ozeri has gone to her final resting