Israeli Artists You Should Be Listening To

Need music recommendations for you plane ride to Israel? We’ve got you covered! Israel’s music scene is bursting with talent. Check out these five popular Israeli artists, both classic and new!

Ofra Haza

Genre: pop/electronica/dance. 

Ofra Haza, an actress and Grammy-nominated artist, is widely known as the “Israeli Madonna” or the “Madonna of the East.” Born in Tel Aviv, Haza began singing at the young age of 12. By the age of 19, she was already a pop star. It was then that she earned her title as the Israeli Madonna.

Her most popular song in Israel, titled “Shir Ha’frecha” (“The Bimbo Song”) was featured on her first record, which was released in 1980. In 1984, Haza topped the Eurocharts for two weeks with her single “Im Nin’alu.” In 1992, her popular album, Kirya, received a Grammy nomination. Haza collaborated with a wide variety of global artists over the years, including Paula Abdul, The Sisters of Mercy, and even Iggy Pop! Haza died in 2000 from pneumonia, but her music lives on as some of the most iconic songs in Israel. 

Arik Einstein

Genre: Israeli rock.

Arik Einstein was known as a pioneer of the Israeli rock genre, and is regarded as one of the most influential Israeli artists to have ever lived. During his teenage years, Einstein joined the famous Israeli army band, the Nahal Brigade army band. He performed music with them for a few years, then released his first solo record. Before going solo again, Einstein was part of a group called The High Windows. Their first album, released in 1967, broke the charts and signaled an entirely new direction for Israeli rock music. Einstein was also part of and wrote songs for the Hashomer Hatzair youth movement. This movement, which was founded during the First World War, was a protest against the discriminatory modernization of Eastern Europe.

Lola Marsh

Genre: Indie pop.

Originally formed as a duo in 2013, Lola Marsh is composed of Gil Landau (guitar/keyboard) and Yael Shoshana Cohen (vocals). The group began writing and performing music in local pubs around Tel Aviv, and were then signed by Anova Music (a major Israeli music label). The release of their first single, “Sirens,” in 2015, quickly gained popularity. It was even featured in the well-known TV show Scream! The band lists their musical inspirations to be Sufjan Stevens, Nina Simone, Fleet Foxes, Elvis and Bon Iver.

Netta Barzilai

Genre: pop.

Netta, an Israeli pop artist, became wildly famous after winning the fifth season of HaKokhav HaBa, (“The Next Star”), which is basically an Israeli version of American Idol. In 2018, she represented Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest. She won after performing her most popular track, “Toy!” The song is written and performed in English but contains one line of Hebrew. (Netta was born into a Jewish family and was a counselor at an Israeli youth movement HaNoar HaOved VeHaLomed in high school.)

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