Singer, cantor Jo Amar passes away, 79

Fusing sephardi and Arabic music with Western harmony, Amar helped give birth to 'Mizrahi' music.

June 28, 2009 08:24
1 minute read.
Singer, cantor Jo Amar passes away, 79

Jo Amar 248.88. (photo credit: Courtesy)

World renowned Moroccan singer Yosef "Jo" Amar passed away in New York on Friday. He was 79 years old. Amar was an Israeli icon during the early years of the state, a favorite of the newly arrived Sephardic immigrants. Amar immigrated to Israel in 1956. He pioneered the fusion of classical Jewish Sephardic and Arabic tunes with Western musical sensibilities, thereby helping give birth to the style labeled Mizrahi music today. The lyrics usually discussed the personal and social angst and joys of Middle Eastern immigrants who sought to find a place in Israeli society. Amar was also a highly-regarded cantor. The casket of Amar, who recently joined his children in the United States, was brought to Israel Saturday night. His funeral will take place Sunday afternoon at Yad Rambam, the moshav where he stayed on visits to Israel in recent years. Amar made aliya in 1956, but later left Israel and divided his time between Europe and the United States. However, he continued to visit Israel to perform. After the death of his wife Remond, Amar returned to Israel. He was wheelchair-bound after having suffered a stroke in 2000, and two years ago, suffered a second stroke, which worsened the condition of his Parkinson's disease, from which he also suffered at a late age.

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