Culture report: roots of success

Acclaimed Israeli singer Oshi’s Ethiopian origins are a source of pride

By
April 4, 2018 13:43
Acclaimed Israeli singer Oshi

Acclaimed Israeli singer Oshi. (photo credit: COURTESY OSHI)

IT WASN’T until Oshi went on a tour with a musical group outside Israel that the 27-year-old Ethiopian-Israeli singer started to feel proud of her Ethiopian heritage. “In the United States whenever people talked to me about my Ethiopian background, they were always impressed. It was like ‘Wow!’” recalls Oshi. “It was the opposite of the way people here often make me feel, like they feel sorry for me.”

Oshi grew up as Oshrat Masala in the northern Negev town of Kiryat Malachi, where her parents settled after immigrating to Israel in 1984. Like the second-generation children of many Ethiopian Israeli immigrants, Oshi was eager to fit in with Israeli society. She spoke Hebrew at home with her parents and she didn’t have any desire to learn the native Ethiopian language of Amharic, though she did pick up some words as it was the language her parents spoke between themselves.

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