From an unknown student in acting school to the most successful singer in Israel
The Eighties : the breakthrough
Rita started her musical career in an army singing troupe, “IDF 80” during which she preformed in a duo “Rami & Rita”, with Rami Kleinstein, a young musician. Roni Brown, then the VP of CBS records, attended one of the shows during the first Lebanon war, and was mesmerized by the 2 artists, inviting them to sing in the soundtrack of the movie “The Pnimiya”. After her discharge from the IDF at 1982, Rita started acting school at “Beit Zvi”. Rita says that “the 3 years of school were very intense but contributed a lot to shaping me as an artist.” in 1985, during Rita’s school and following Her and Rami’s impressive work, both were signed as core talents of a new label – “Helicon”. Rami, as the local wonder boy, and Rita as a rare vocalist and exceptional stage persona.
“Bgida”: A tale of a yellow jacket
At the end of 1985 Rita released her first single “Bgida”: lyrics by Yael Tevet and composed by Rami Kleinstein. With over 120 hours of studio recordings invested in the single, “Bgida” went straight to number one in the charts of all radio stations in Israel and kept its status for more than 2 months. This was an unprecedent achievement for an unknown singer who was still attending acting school. it was also the first time the Israeli public was exposed to Rita’s outstanding vocals. In 1986, following her tremendous success of her first singles, Rita was invited to take part in the “pre Eurovision” for the chance to represent Israel in the international Eurovision song contest. Rita’s unforgettable performance of the song “Shvil Ha’Bricha”, made her overnight, the most talked about superstar, impressing the Israeli public with her unique quality and performance.
The first album – first highlight
The same year Rita debuted with an album bearing her name “Rita”, which till this day holds the incredible record of best selling debut album of all times. Produced in an unprecedented investment, the album brought a fresh and new musical arrangements that produced an international standards of sound quality. Rami Kleinstein, along with Reuven Shapira and Naor Dayan, produced and arranged most songs, while Rita herself wrote 3 texts. The album achieved triple platinum status.
No rest from project to project
Following the immense success of her debut album, Rita decided to take the lead role of Eliza Doolittle in the Israeli production of “My Fair Lady”, a role she knew well from acting school. Rita says: “the success of the album was crazy and they wanted me to perform in parks and arenas. People will come to the park to hear just 10 songs? I felt it was too early, that’s why I decided that I don’t want to have a concert before a second album and more songs in my repertoire. “My Fair Lady” came right on time – an amazing musical, a familiar place and a chance to meet the public.” The musical showed for several months in Tel Aviv with great success and the songs were recorded on an album. That year Rita first (but not last) earned the title of “best female singer” in the charts. In 1987 Rita released her first international album “Breaking Those Walls” which included English versions of her debut album and a cover of “Roxanne” by Police.
The second album – “Yemei Ha’Tom”
In March 1988 Rita released her second album “Yemei Ha’Tom” which till this day is considered by critics to be a masterpiece. The critically acclaimed album achieved many accoladed and it was the first Israeli album to reach golden status on the day of its release. Eventually, the album reached a triple platinum status, selling a total of 120,000 copies.
Following the success of “Yemei Ha’Tom”, Rita launched her first tour which was a distinct expression of her career path. The tour made history as the most successful in Israel and ran more than 400 times throughout 3.5 years. Produced by Louie Lahav, the tour presented Rita’s extraordinary vocals and performance, making her the undisputed queen of Israeli pop.
Collaboration with esteemed artists and a big success abroad
In 1990, the second decade of Rita’s career, she stared in the Israeli production of “Taming of the shrew”. That same year she was chosen to represent Israel in the Eurovision song contest in Yugoslavia with the song “Shara Ba’Rchovot”. Rita says humorously: “although the song did not reach a high rank, to say the least, but at least I earned an amazing song, which I sing in every concert.” In 1991 Rita collaborated with Dudu Fisher and Shlomo Bar Aba in the show “tonight, Musical” alongside an ensemble of singers, actors and dancers. The show included numbers from the musical “Kol Nidrei” composed by the international pianist Lalo Schifrin and selected songs from famous musicals such as “Funny Girl”, “West Story” and more.
Hot Tin Roof, Roxanne and a mother
On February 1992 Rita had her first daughter, Meshi. That same year she played the lead in “A Cat on A Hot Tin Roof” by Tennessee Williams at the “Ha’Bima” national Theater. She also wins the title of best female singer of the year.
In 1993 Rita re-released her cover for “Roxanne” in France and Belgium, where it reached high in the charts and sold 140,000 copies.
In 1994 Rita released her third album, “Ahava Gdola”, produced by Louie Lahav and Yaakov Gilad. The album, which included many hits by Israel’s top writers, hit golden and triple platinum status. The music video for the song “Tzipor Zara”, directed by Yariv Gaver, was considered then to be the most expensive video ever produced in Israel. It also won “best foreign music video” title on MTV.
The concert titled “Ahava Gdola” ran for unprecedent 4 years and 400 shows. The concert combined breathtaking lighting, spectacular dancers, costumes and even the first use of the “Madonna” microphone. The concert was taped and released on DVD and enjoyed a great success.
In 1995 Rita gave her voice to Pocahontas in the Hebrew version to Disney’s movie, as a gesture to her daughter, Meshi.
In 1996 Rita released “Tachanot BaZman” with songs that were never included in her previous albums alongside some new songs. The album was a great hit, reaching a quadruple platinum status.
In 1998 Rita sang Israel’s national anthem in the Jubilee ceremony in Jerusalem.
In 1999 Rita released her 4th studio album – “Tiftach Chalon”, produced by Louie Lahav. The album won quintuple platinum status and the music video with the same name won the title of best music video for that year. Following the album’s release, Channel 2 aired a documentary about Rita’s life and career.
New Millennium – New Records
Live, Orchestra and a New Baby
In 2000 Rita is recording her second international album – “Time For Peace”, produced by Corrado Rustici, who worked with Whitney Houston and Elton John, among others. In 2001, after the birth of her second daughter, Noam, Rita reunited with Rami Kleinstein on stage. They preformed together on a hit tour which was later recorded, reaching a quadruple platinum status. That same year, Rita performed in “Concerto for Rita and the Symphony” with the Israeli philharmonic, introducing her amazing vocal abilities in classical musical. In 2002 Rita launched a series of acoustic intimate shows “Rita & the Piano”. In March 2003 she released her sixth studio album “Chamtsan”. The album that included 13 songs, sold over 30,000 copies, followed by a new concert “Rita Live”. The same year Rita recorded with Ivri Lider the international hit “Cinderella Rockefella” for the soundtrack of Eytan Fox’s film “Walk on Water”.
One – a once in a lifetime show
In 2004 Rita played the lead of Roxy Hart in the Israeli production on the hit musical “Chicago” and received many accolades for her performance. In July 2006 she launched the show “One”, directed by Hanoch Rosen and musically produced by Rami Kleinstein. The show was a once in a life time spectacle in international standards. With an unprecedented investment of 20 Million Shekels, the show combined extraordinary visual effects, spectacular stage and an ensemble of 60 dancers and acrobats. Till this day it is considered to be the most spectacular production in Israel, drawing an audience of more than 80,000 people.
Rita’s seventh album, “Remazim” was produced by Ivri Lider who recorder the album in his private studio. The album was Rita’s most personal and intimate project to which she contributed some of its texts. Released in 2008, the album received rave reviews by critics who defined it as a milestone in Rita’s career. The album, followed by a successful tour, reached double gold status after only two months. In 2008, Israel’s 60th independence day, Rita was named “The most loved singer of all times” by the Israeli public, reinforcing her status as Israel’s queen of pop.
The Singer of All Time Starts a New Journey Around the World
In 2009 Rita collaborated with Rock band “Knesiyat Ha’Sechel” on a unique tour which received many accolades. Following the concert they released the single “Day La’Keev” with original text to a folk Farsi tune, which became a huge hit. The surprising collaboration laid the cornerstone for one of Rita’s most significant turn of her career – the album “My Joys” that was produced by the band’s members Ami Reiss and Ran Elmaliach In 2010 Rita took part in Elad Zakay’s student film “Ben is Back” in which she also sang the theme song. The film was screened in several movie festivals around the world. Rita received rave reviews and won best actress in San Francisco short film festival. That same year Rita published a children’s book “The Girl with a Brave Heart: A Story from Tehran”, based on Farsi folklore. The book soon became a best seller and was published in the USA, England and Japan and was adapted to a children’s play in Israeli theater. Rita also performed that year in World Expo international show in China and in the international Jazz festival in Istanbul alongside many known world artists, produced by Latin Grammy winner, Javier Limon. In 2010 Rita completed recording her Farsi album – “My Joys”, where she returned to her roots, signing in her mother’s tongue and including her family in the album. The album generated an international interest, especially in Rita’s native country, Iran and album soon reached gold record status.
In March 2013 Rita marked one of her most outstanding achievements when she was the first artist ever to give a full concert at the UN General Assembly Hall in New York. The concert, attended by then secretary general Ban Ki Moon and the Israeli ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, featured Rita singing in 3 languages: Hebrew, English and Farsi. That year Rita sang to President Barack Obama in his visit to Israel and was also invited to talk about women empowerment in the British house of Lords. Following these international events, Rita was named a culture ambassador of good will to Israel by the world press.
Rita Jahan Foruz
The documentary “Rita Janan Foruz” was released in 2013. The film documented the recording of “My Joys” and shared an intimate look into Rita’s family life and her extended family who yearns for their beloved homeland.
The Jewish students organization “Hillel” found that Rita is the most influential cultural figure among students, driving Rita to travel world wide campuses, giving inspiring talks about her life and people to people diplomacy. In 2017 Rita was honored to talk in the international TEXx convention in Tel Aviv, where she spoke about her life and even sang with her mother a Farsi lullaby. The talk titled “the Greatness of Weakness”, gave the audience a glimpse of Rita’s challenges and triumphs: “I used to think I was cursed by all possible ways: Jewish, Iranian, Israeli and a woman with a troubled childhood. Now I now that all differences can coexist. I have learned that our weaknesses holds the potential of great strength and our curses carry a blessing inside them.”
The long-awaited album that wowed a country
“Nisim Shkufim” proves once again that the Diva’s precise work pays off. She brought to the world precise music that feeds the ear and heart. This is a very successful song collection. Even after all these years Rita is Rita – she needs no miracles (Nisim) to remain Israel’s queen of pop.” Eran Itzkovich / nrg This is Rita’s most intimate album and the reconnection with Zruya Lahav’s texts adds some more wonderful moments to her known repertoire.” Amir Shwartz / Yediot Aharonot “Nisim Shkufim” contains 10 songs, 4 of which were written by Rita herself. A review of her many albums shows that throughout the years the singer is signed off some of her popular and mainly most interesting songs: “Eved Shel Ha’zman”, “Ad Shetaazov”, “Chavera”, “Mayim Tslulim” and many more. Even in this album, the most beautiful songs are the ones she wrote.” Tal Levin / Achbar A’ir In “Nisim Shkufin” Rita does reinvent herself, but she returns to the mainstream of local pop, being most honest and real, like we haven’t heard her in years.” Assaf Nevo / Israel Hayom This is an album of emotions and excitements where Rita wrote lyrics of emotional honesty: from “Kchi Lach” that was written to her daughter Meshi through “Nisim Shkufim”, where Rita is wonderfully restrained, singing delicately and very accurate in expressing her feelings.” Yossi Charasonski / Yosmusic
From an Anonymous Student at the Acting Studio to the Most Successful Singer in Israel
The 80’s: Breakthrough
Rita began her musical career in a military music band named “IDF 80.” As part of her mandatory service, she performed with a young musician named Rami Kleinstein under the title “Rami & Rita”. During one of their appearances together, one man in the audience named Ronnie Braun, VP at CBS Records, was fascinated by the refreshing performance of the young artists and invited them to sing for the soundtrack of the film “The Boarding School.”
When Rita finished her military service in 1982, she began her studies at the “Beit Zvi” Acting Studio. Rita says: “Those were three very intense years, but they contributed a lot to the artist I am today.” During her studies and in light of their successful work together, in 1985 it was decided that Rita and Kleinstein, who were considered refreshing discoveries in the young Israeli music market, would be at the center of a new label – ‘Helicon’. Kleinstein was a local wonder boy, and she was a rare voice and an extraordinary performer.
Betrayal: Bird With a Yellow Jacket
At the end of 1985, Rita’s first song was released to the radio – “Bgida (Betrayal)” – with music by Kleinstein and lyrics by Yael Tevet. Over 120 studio hours were invested in the song. “Betrayal” jumped directly to the top of the charts on all the Israeli radio stations, remained there for more than two months and accumulated innumerable plays. It was an unprecedented achievement at the time, especially for the anonymous singer Rita who was still a student at the acting studio. This was the first time that the Israeli audience was exposed to Rita’s impressive vocal abilities. After “Bgida (Betrayal),” the song “Ahuvat Ha-Sapan (The Sailor’s Lover)” was released on the radio, with music by Kleinstein and lyrics by Yair Lapid. The song was a great success and is still considered one of her most beloved hits.
In 1986, carried by the success of her early songs, Rita was invited to participate in the Pre-Eurovision contest in Israel. The chosen song was “Shvil Ha-Bricha (The Escape Path),” with music by Kleinstein and lyrics by Michal Brent. Her unforgettable appearance in the competition turned her overnight into a rising star in Israel. No one could remain indifferent to the performer with such a unique voice.
The First Album and the First Record
That same year, her debut album “Rita” was released, reaching unprecedented sales that preserves it to this day as the best-selling debut album in Israel. The album, which required great investment, changed the perception of musical production which generated sound quality at international standards. Rami Kleinstein produced the album with the assistance of Reuven Shapira and Naor Dayan, and also composed and arranged most of the songs. Rita herself wrote the lyrics for three songs in the album – “Eved Shel Hazman (Slave of Time),” “Osefet Ke’evay Hayeshanim (Collecting My Old Pains)” and “Lecha (For You).” Another song that stood out in this album was “Hachnisini Tachat Knafech (Take me in, under your wing)” written by well-known national Israeli poet Haim Nahman Bialik, and set to a folk melody.
From Project to Project, Rita Does not Stop
After the success of the debut album, Rita decided to accept a proposal to play the lead role in the Israeli adaptation of the musical “My Fair Lady” – a role she knew well from the acting studio. She chose this so as to postpone her first tour. Rita says: “The success of the first album was crazy. They wanted me to perform in parks and big venues. I thought to myself that it’s too early for people to come all the way to the concert to hear only ten songs. I decided that until I had another album and enough material, I did not want to go out on tour. The “My Fair Lady” proposal came just in time for me – an amazing musical, a familiar place and an opportunity to meet the audience.” The musical was performed for several months in Tel Aviv with great success, and the songs from it were recorded in an album. In the same year, Rita won the title “Singer of the year” for the first time – but not for the last time.
In 1987, Rita released “Breaking Those Walls,” which included English versions of the songs of her first album, a cover of the song “Roxanne” by Police, as well as the song “Mirror of Love.” Later, Yaakov Gilad wrote Hebrew lyrics to the melody and re-released the album “Yemey Ha-Tom (Days of Innocence)” as “Notza Baruach (Feather in the Wind).” The album was distributed in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, selling tens of thousands of copies. That same year she performed in a great annual children’s concert (renamed later as ‘The Festigal’) with the song “Rega Prati (Private Moment)” which won first place. The song was written by Ehud Manor according to a conversation between the two, in which she told him of her childhood memories and her dream to sing.
The Second Album – “Days of Innocence”
In March of 1988, Rita’s second album, “Yemei Ha-Tom (Days of Innocence)” was released. The album is praised to this day: it is considered by the critics to be an exemplary album. It was said that because of the many hits it contains it sounds almost like a collection album. The album’s musical production by Rami Kleinstein also accomplished tremendous achievements. It was the first Israeli album to reach a record number of sales on the date of release. Kleinstein composed most of the album’s songs: “Bo (Come),” “Atuf Be-Rachamim (Wrapped in Mercy),” “Ani Chaya Li Mi-Yom Le-Yom (I Live from Day to Day)” and “Yemei Ha-Tom (Days of Innocence).”
After the success of the album “Days of Innocence,” Rita embarked on her first tour. The tour is the clearest expression of how Rita started off on a huge scale – exactly the opposite of other artists who begin playing on small stages. The show was a music phenomenon and spectacular stage act in the most prestigious venues in the country. It made history as the most successful debut tour of all time for an Israeli artist. During the tour, she recorded the song “Mahol Metoraf (Crazy Dance).” The song, which was released only as a radio record and was not included in any albums except “Tachanot Ba-Zman (Time Stations),” an interim album that was released later, became a big hit. The tour called “Rita on Stage” was her first tour. It was produced by the international producer Louis Lahav and was successfully performed more than 400 times in three and a half years.
In 1989, Rita participated in the film “The Thousand Wives of Naftali Siman Tov,” directed by Michal Bat Adam. She was again awarded the title “Singer of the Year” by the Israeli Hit Parade and also “Actor of the Year” by the Israeli Academy Awards.
Collaborations with the Most Esteemed Artists, and Great Success Abroad
The Whole World is a Stage
In 1990, the second decade of her career, Rita was the star of the Israeli production of “The Taming of the Shrew,” a comedy by William Shakespeare. In the same year she was chosen to represent Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest held in Yugoslavia with the song “Shara Ba-Rehovot (Singing in the streets).”
Rita says humorously: “Although the song was not rated highly, and that’s an understatement, at least I got an amazing song out of it. There isn’t a concert when I don’t sing this song.” The song became one of her most popular and beloved songs.
In 1990, she also performed at the Festigal, a major annual event for children’s music in Israel, with the song “Kova Ksamim (Magic Hat)” by the poet Leah Goldberg, and later in the Festigal performed with the music band ‘Ethnix’ and guitarist Baldi Olier, with the song “Agadat Ha-Shemesh Ve-Ha-Yareach (The Legend of the Sun and Moon).”
In 1991, she collaborated with Dudu Fisher and Shlomo Bar-Aba in the musical performance “The Tonight Musical,” with a group of singers, actors and dancers. The show included songs from the musical “Kol Nidre” composed by the international composer Lalo Schifrin, as well as a selection of songs from famous plays including “Funny Girl,” “The West Side Story” and more.
A Tin Roof, Roxanne and Mother
In February 1992 Rita’s eldest daughter, Meshi, was born. That year she participated in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” a play by Tennessee Williams at ‘Habima,’ the Israeli National Theater in Tel Aviv. Rita played the lead role of Maggie. The same year, Rita also won the IBA Singer of the Year award.
In 1993, the cover version of “Roxanne” – released few years earlier in the album “Breaking Those Walls” – was re-released as a single in France and Belgium. The single topped the charts and sold over 140,000 copies.
(צילום מתתוך MTV
Great Love – All the Way to MTV
In 1994, Rita’s third album, “Ahava Gdola (Great Love)” was produced by Louis Lahav. The album included many hits and was a great commercial success in Israel.
The song “Tzipor Zara (A Foreign Bird)” was accompanied by an inspiring video directed by Yariv Gever, at the time holding the record for the most invested clip produced in Israel. The video even won the ‘Best foreign Video Clip of 1994’ award on MTV.
The tour, which followed the album and carried the same name, ran with unprecedented success for four whole years, totaling about 400 concerts. The stage act earned the title of Spectacle, thanks to the spectacular lighting, dancers, change of costumes and even the first use of the wireless mouth piece microphone nicknamed ‘Madonna’ in Israel.
Live performances from the concerts were recorded and would be published later as part of the album “Tachanot Bazman (Stations in Time).” The show was also filmed and released on DVD.
At the end of 1994, the song “Al Tefached (Do not Fear)” was released from the film “The Song of the Siren,” which became a hit in its own right.
Later, in 1995, Rita was dubbing and singing for the Hebrew version of the animated film “Pocahontas” by Disney. She said, “I thought it would be a beautiful gift for Meshi, who was then three years old.”
During the “Great Love” tour, in 1996, the album “Tachanot Bazman (Stations in Time)” was released, which was an interim summary album marking a decade of Rita’s career. The album included songs that hadn’t featured in the previous albums along with new songs, including the song “Ad SheTa’azov (Until You Leave)” by Rita and Rami Kleinstein. In addition to these songs, the album also included live performances from the show “Great Love”, including the iconic and moving version of the song “Ani Chaya Li Mi-Yom Le-Yom (I Live from Day to Day),” which, unlike the rhythmic version released on the album “Days of Innocence,” was presented as a powerful ballad.
That same year, Rita recorded the duet “Shnayim (Two)” with Shlomo Artzi.
On the 50th anniversary of the State of Israel, Rita sang the national anthem at the national show “Bells of the Jubilee” in Jerusalem.
Open a Window
In late 1999, Rita’s fourth studio album, “Tiftach Chalon (Open a Window)” was released.
The album was produced by the international producer Louis Lahav. This is a double album, in which many artists, including Rami Kleinstein, Shlomo Artzi, Yair Lapid (later a member of the Israeli Parliament) and many more participated.
The lyrics of the theme song, “Open a Window” were written by Rita. The song won the Best Vocal Performance category. “Open a Window” is considered to be the highest-invested album to be produced in Israel and was one of the bestseller albums of all time in the country. In addition, the video that accompanied the song won the best video award.
The tour that accompanied the album was a big success and ran for about a year, until the birth of Rita’s second daughter, Noam. In addition, the album won the award for the best stage act of the year.
Parallel to the release of the album, Channel 2, a leading Israeli channel produced a documentary film about Rita’s life called “Hodadad.”
New Millennium – New Records
Live, Orchestra and a New Baby
In the year 2000, at the peak of the success of “Open a Window,” Rita was recording another album in English named “Time for Peace.” The album was produced by Corrado Rustici, an Italian musical producer who worked with Whitney Houston, Elton John, Cuccaro and many more.
In the summer of 2001, the musical power couple Rita and Rami Kleinstein reunited and embarked on a tour, “The Joint Show,” which was documented in a double album that was a huge commercial success.
That year, Rita lead the show “Concerto for Rita and Orchestra” – a joint performance with the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Asher Fisch. On the stage, Rita exposed for the first time her full vocal abilities, which were honed by years of classical musical education. The show included classical music by Puccini, Bizet and Gershwin, alongside Philharmonic adaptations for well known hits.
That same year, Rita also hosted Yossi Banai’s album “Le’at (Slowly),” in a duet called “A Painting of Love,” which he composed based on Chopin’s Prelude in E minor.
(A picture from the Concerto of Rita & Orchestra)
Oxygen – First Artistic Experiences in the Third Decade of her Career
In 2002 the concert “Rita and the Piano” was performed at the Israeli Piano Festival. It was Rita’s first experience at an intimate show, closer to the audience with a small and minimal band; before this she had performed only in large halls and big venues.
In March 2003, Rita’s sixth album, “Chamtzan (Oxygen)” was released. The song “Le’alefNamer (To Train a Tiger)” preceded it as a single in an electronic production that surprised many. Also in the album is the song “Ata Adain (You Are Still),“ by Meir Ariel, who won new success in Dudu Tassa’s cover version about a year later, in which Rita sang background vocals.
The album included thirteen songs, two of which Rita wrote – “Teshaker Li (Lie to Me)” and “Yom Hadash (New Day).” The rest of the songs were written by various artists, such as Shlomo Artzi, Yair Lapid, Aviv Gefen and others.
Following “Oxygen,” Rita went on a tour under the name “Rita LIVE.” In that same year, she also recorded the new version of Esther Ofarim’s “Cinderella Rockefella” with Ivri Lider – an international hit from the soundtrack of Eitan Fox’s international award winning movie “Walk on Water.”
(Youtube – Cinderella Rockefella)
One – A Once in a Lifetime Show
The middle of the first decade of the 2000s symbolizes the conquest of the most amazing stages in Israel.
In 2004, for the first time in Israel, the Israeli version of the musical ‘Chicago’, one of Broadway’s biggest hits, was performed at “Beit Lessin” Theater. Rita played the role of Roxie Hart and was praised for her acting. The musical was a great success.
In July 2006 Rita launched the performance “One” directed by Hanoch Rosen. The musical production was led by Rami Kleinstein and other well-known producers, such as Eyal Katzav, Henry Philoni, Astral Projection and others, contributed to the musical diversity.
The show was the realization of a vision, a once in a lifetime performance on an international scale. The production cost over 20 million NIS and was a breakthrough in Israel, presenting a rare combination of experiential, visual and musical media, advanced stage systems and a team of about sixty dancers and acrobats. It was the first show ever produced in Israel on that scale.
The show ran thirty times in the “Tel Aviv Convention Center,” day after day. During the same month about 80,000 people watched “One.” A DVD and a CD of the show was released as it ended its stage run.
Hints of a Refreshing New Era
After the series of performances of One, the recording of Rita’s seventh studio album “Remazim (Hints)” began, together with the creator and producer Ivri Lider. The album was recorded in Lider’s private studio and had an intimate and personal nature with Rita herself responsible for writing some of the lyrics.
“Hints” was released in January 2008 and immediately caught the attention of the audience, thanks to a sound that had not been heard before from Rita. Music critics defined the album as a major milestone in Rita’s career.
At the same time, Rita embarked on a tour called “Hints.” The tour received great demand and favorable reviews. It was noted that the tour was a surprising and moving performance, especially in relation to everything that Rita had done until then. It was a down to earth, close to the audience and intimate performance.
On Israeli Independence Day 2008, Israel’s 60th anniversary, Rita won the title of Israel’s All-Time Singer in a poll conducted by Keshet Broadcasting, one of Israel leading media channels.
At the end of that year, Rita was chosen as the “Singer of the Year” by four different radio stations. In addition, “Hints” became the best-selling album in Israel in 2008, and Rita was marked as the most widely played artist on the radio in Israel in 2007/8.
The Singer of All Time Starts a New Journey Around the World
In 2009, during the first Tel Aviv Musical Festival, a joint performance with the “Knesiyat Hasekhel” ensemble was launched. The surprising cooperation was praised by many.
As part of the show the song “Dai La-Ke’ev (Enough Pain)” was released, an original text for a Persian melody brought by Rita from her parents’ home. The song was played on all Israeli radio stations and became a big hit. The unexpected collaboration laid the foundation for one of the most significant twists in Rita’s career – the album “HaSmachot Shely (My Joys),” which would be produced later by the ensemble members Ami Rice and Ran Elimaliach.
In that same year Rita performed in the Festigal, a decade after the first time, as a guest artist performing her best hits of all times.
Shiraz Returns Home
In 2010 Rita participated in the film, “Ben Returns Home” by the young and promising director Elad Zakai. The film was accompanied by children’s classic “Boi Ima (Come, Mom),” performed by Rita. The film has been screened at film festivals around the world, and Rita was praised for her acting and won the Best Actress Award at the San Francisco Film Festival.
That same year Rita’s children’s book, “The heart of Shiraz” (illustrations by Wally Minzi) was published, based on a children’s fairy tale from her mother’s home. The book, which draws much inspiration from the Persian folklore, quickly entered the bestseller charts. The book was published in the United States, England and Japan and appeared as a children’s play at the Orna Porat Theater in Israel.
In addition, Rita went on stage with the show, “Closer than Ever,” a series of performances at the Zappa Club in Tel Aviv.
(A picture from the film, “Ben Returns Home”)
In 2010 Rita appeared at the World Expo held in Shanghai, China. Her performances were very successful and attracted many visitors. The show concluded the activities at the Israeli Pavilion every day and was a highlight event. Rita was also invited to perform at the International Jazz Festival in Istanbul alongside Glykeria (Greece), Aynur (Turkey) and Booyaka (Spain). The performance took place under the title “Women of Water” and was produced by the Latin Grammy winner Javier Limon.
In 2010, the work on her Persian album “My Joys” was also completed. Rita returned to the joyful songs she grew up on, performed them in her mother tongue and even included family members in recordings. With the release of the song “Shane” on the radio, Rita participated in a special TV show named “A Star is Born” (Israeli Idol) where she performed the song for the first time in a live performance. The TV show participants also performed Rita’s songs under her guidance. Also on the radio were “Sha Doomad” and “Gole Sangam”. The album received great international interest, especially in Iran – both in the country itself and among Iranians living around the world. The album won this interest and success despite being in the Persian language.
Read more about “My Joys” >>>
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Ambassador of Goodwill
In March 2013, one of the most significant achievements in Rita’s career took place. She gave a full performance at the UN headquarters in New York, in the general assembly hall, headed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and a crowd over 120 representatives – including representatives from countries hostile to Israel. The concert was a goodwill gesture from the Israeli delegation led by Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Ron Prosor. At the same concert, Rita sang in three languages – Persian, Hebrew and English. Rita was the first artist ever to give a full performance at the UN.
That same month, Rita appeared at the state dinner given by the then President of Israel, Shimon Peres during US President Barack Obama’s visit to Israel with the song, “Jerusalem of Gold.” At the end of that yea, she was also invited to the British House of Lords, where she lectured at the “Women in Music” event on women’s empowerment.
In the wake of these international events, in which Rita represented Israel and promoted the bringing together of people through music, she was crowned by the world press as an ambassador of cultural goodwill.
An Inspiring Lecturer
In the summer of 2014, after operation “Protective edge (Tzuk Eitan),” a wave of anti-Semitism was felt over the world.
The Hillel Organization, a Jewish student organization active throughout the United States, conducted a survey and declared Rita as the most influential Israeli public cultural figure among students. Rita was described as an “inspiring artist.” She is currently traveling to campuses around the world to lecture about her life story and “the understanding, in my personal experience, of how art and music can connect people without boundaries.”
In 2014, on the 20th anniversary of her legendary tour “Great Love,” the “20 Years of Great Love” tour, which includes its biggest hits took off and ran for three years throughout the country. This tour, too, was very successful.
Rita – the Greatest of Them all
In the summer of 2015, Rita returned to star in only twenty performances of the musical “My Fair Lady” at the Habimah National Theater in Tel Aviv. She filled the same iconic main role and was widely praised for her acting, which astonished even the critics at the time. In that same year, she released a 24-song double collection album, including hits that had accompanied her in the last three decades.
At the end of 2016, a viral status on Facebook spawned a surprising collaboration. Yehoash Schwartz, a 90-year-old Holocaust survivor, wrote the song, “Al Tire’e (Do not Look)” in memory of his late wife. He told his granddaughter that his dream is that Rita, “the greatest of them all,” would sing his song. Rita was moved by the sensitive words and the song was recorded set to the music of Dudi Bar David.
In 2017 Rita sang the song, “Jerusalem of Gold” at the 69th anniversary of the State of Israel and won the title Singer of All Time by Mako, a website operated by Keshet Broadcasting and the well-known radio station 103 FM.
This year at the TEDx International Conference held in Tel Aviv, Rita shared an emotional talk about her life story and even sang a lullaby in Persian with her mother. In her talk entitled “The Greatness of Weakness,” Rita shared with the public her insights on life:
“I used to think that I was cursed in all possible ways: I was Jewish, Iranian, Israeli, a woman, did not easy childhood … Today I understand that all this was so that I could turn all these shortcomings into my source of strength. I can serve as an example to other people who will see that the crises we all undergo and our difficulties can be a source of strength. Weakness bears great strength and curses bear great blessings, and it all depends on us.”
In June of 2017, the first single from Rita’s 12th album, “Nissim Shkufim,” (Transparent Miracles) was released: a song called “Haver Shel Paam.” (Friend from My Past) The song (lyrics by Noam Horev, music by Loren Peled, produced by Gilad Shmueli) was accompanied by a unique clip filmed in Israel and in the U.S. that was directed by Tom Avni and received much praise and lots of radio airtime. The song quickly became the most listened to single, a title it held onto for several weeks.
Embraced like long ago
In the beginning of August 2017, the album, “Nissim Shkufim,” was launched at a celebratory event at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art – during which another one of the album’s singles was broadcast for the first time – “Mizman” (Long Ago) (music and production by Nitzan Kaikov, lyrics by Tzruya Lahav). This single was also accompanied by a breathtaking and artistic clip, directed by Sasha Prilutsky, and combined creative photography techniques with color palette that was just bursting with emotion. “Mizman” was a musical success and was played countless times on the radio – to the delight of fans and members of the press alike.
A deeply personal testimonial
The album’s title track, “Nissim Shkufim,” was written by Rita herself (music by Loren Feld, produced by Gilad Shmueli). The song is one of four that Rita wrote for this album. The album also features lyrics by Rachel Shapira, Tzruya Lahav, Noam Horev and Tomer Memiah .
“Kchi Lach” (Take) is one of the album’s standout songs. Written by Rita and her oldest daughter Meshi, the song blossomed from a letter from mother to daughter, before Meshi embarked on a post-army service trip abroad. Meshi added a stanza of her own to the original text (at first called “Tzeida Laderech” (Provisions for the Way)), in which she responds to her mother, creating an exciting and captivating sung dialogue. “Kchi Lach” is Rita’s first musical collaboration with her daughter.
The fruit of her labors
The album is the result of 9 years of work (since the debut of “Remazim”) and it summarizes the process of gathering materials, recording songs, processing the music and putting it all together, that began before Rita’s Persian project, “Hasmachot Sheli” (My Joys). At the album launch, Rita said that “It became clear to me that I owe myself and my audience greater precision, much more precision and authenticity regarding the place I am in right now – my experiences, crises, joyous moments, painful occasions, the life lessons I have learned and the growing I have done. Today, I understand that this specific album could not have been released even a moment earlier, because it had a role to serve. I dream and pray that the songs in this album will give my audience that extra boost they need to cope with the merry-go-round of life.”
And the Critics Go Wild
“Nissim Shkufim proves once again that the scrupulous work of one diva, who had not released an original album for nearly a decade, was well worth it. She has brought to the tight-knit music industry pleasant sounds and feelings that please the ears and warm the heart… At the end of the day, this is an extremely successful musical compliation.”
Eran Itzkovitch, NRG
“This is a truly lovely album, one of Rita’s most successful bodies of work… the Israeli equivalent to Adele’s “25.” Song after song, we are exposed to beautiful music sung by Rita in the the most beautiful way she can. And does she know how to sing! It of course is reminiscent of the groove from ‘Remazim,’ which is simply a pleasure to listen to… Beautiful songs, each chosen with care, which is deeply felt. From the first single to the closing number, ‘Kshe’hi Tavo’ (When She Will Come), Rita maintains a high standard. It is such a pleasure to listen to this album.”
Gal Uchovsky, MAKO
“There are so many moments within ‘Nissim Shkufim’ that bring her old audience home. Her voice has remained impeccable and her toned down presentation, which began with her previous album, continues to benefit her. This is Rita’s most intimate album and the renewed connection with Tzruya Lahav’s texts (‘Mizman,’ ‘Hatchalat Boker’ (The Start of the Morning) and ‘Lo Mevateret’ (Won’t Give Up) written with Rita), add even more wondrous moments to her well-known repertoire (…) Despite the fact that almost every song was worked on by a different music producer, the album remains flows and is mostly pleasant and appealing.”
Amir Schwartz, Yediot Aharonot
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New album, new tour, new paths
In November 2017, Rita has launched a new tour, celebrating the release of her new album, “Nissim Shkufim” (Transparent Miracles).
Rita is a must-see in this tour, realizing every phenomenal directorial attempt, in conjunction with a sense of artistic maturity she has fostered over the years. The concert is full of songs from her new album, as well as Rita’s greatest hits, cornerstones in the history of Israeli music.
The scrupulous and precise production process fulfills Rita’s dream to bring a new experience to the world of performing, including the integration of songs never before performed on a live stage: “Bo” (Come), “Mechaka” (Waiting), “Kova Ksamim” (Magic Hat), “Notza Baruach” (Feather in the Wind), “Haver Shel Paam” (Friend From My Past), “Mizman” (Long Ago), “Lo Mevateret” (Won’t Give Up), “Od Me’at” (Soon) and more.
The songs performed on this tour are presented in totally new arrangements and Rita will be accompanied by 12 musical virtuosos. Knesiat Hasechel member Ami Rice will lead the tour’s music production. This will be the second time that Rita and Ami collaborate. The first was during the production of her album, “Hasmachot Sheli” (My Joys).