Reclaiming her North-African heritage with an attitude, LALA Tamar is pop music’s new Eastern muse. With a powerful voice and striking feminine presence,Lala brings for the first time the undiscovered songs of the Jewish women of Spanish Morocco. Transforming these ancient ladino hymns into punchy pop songs with dance and hip hop beats, Lala’s performance is sure to move even the most stubborn listeners to their feet, hands clapping! After touring on stages from Morocco to Portugal, India to Holland and many more, LALA Tamar is excited to be touring the US for the first time spring 2023.
My name is Alexa Young
In the Moroccan tradition “Lala” is the respectful lady of the house
Born to Brazilian-Moroccan parents, LALA Tamar is a unique artist taking her deep roots to the front of the stage. discovered the mystery of the ancient hymns of her heritage when she was in her early twenties. Hymns sang in Moroccan Jewish Arabic and Ladino, more specifically “Haqetiya” , a unique dialect spoken among the jews of Spanish Morocco, perfectly fit Tamar’s hybrid identity; a woman rooted deeply in the cultural seam between Latin and Arab, jewish and muslim, between East and West.
Tamar took to studying Moroccan and invested long hours uncovering old ethnographic recordings of Jewish Moroccan women singing in “Haqetiya” from the National Archive in Jerusalem. Painstakingly transcribing the lyrics, Tamar’s journey to reclaim her heritage began. She delved deeper and deeper into these ancient melodies, becoming the first artist to start compiling an artistic album in this unique dialect. Tamar had to smuggle the recordings out of the Hebrew University by recording them on her cellphone, and was soon picked up by the Jerusalem band Z’aaluk. The ancient hymns from the archives started to claim new life in a modern live show, and the band toured all over the country.
In parallel to her work with Zaaluk, Tamar joined forces with the Mediterranean flamenco maestro Ofer Ronen to complete the trio Ancient Groove, and performed with them all over Europe.
Tamar is also active in the Jerusalem collective Andelucious, noted for their rendition of Algerian classic “Hesbani” that has made digital waves, facilitating communication with Moroccan and Algerian fans every day. Tamar and Andelucious flew to Morocco in 2018 for a historical tour, performing in Essaouira, the capital of classical Moroccan music. Since then enthusiasm for Tamar’s voice and presence in her mother’s birthplace continues to grow every day.
In 2018 Tamar approached Ori Winokur, one of Israel’s most established producers (Asaf Avidan and the Mojo’s, Lola Marsh etc) to create a new album in Hakhetiya. An explosive creative connection was established, Tamar bringing her powerful voice and feminine presence, with her unique foothold in the lost language of Hakhetiya, and Ori bringing cutting edge Pop music production and dance floor groove. Eventually Zaaluk band parted ways, and from this encounter the new identity of LALA was born.
As she dove deeper into the intense studio work, LALA’s striking presence started getting noticed by the film industry. She was casted for acclaimed director Amos Gitay’s film “A Tramway in Jerusalem'' alongside Israel’s top tier of actors (Yael Abeksis, Yuval Scharf, Achinoam Noa Nini), where she sings in Hebrew and Arabic with her traditional Qrakeb castanets in the film’s closing scene. This year she will perform in another role in Gitay’s upcoming fitur.
An intense year in the studio alongside concerts and tours in Morocco (performing next to Karim ziad and Omri Mor) performing with the choreographer Orly Portal and on stages around the world has brought about the debut album - LALA TAMAR, set to be released on may 29th 2020. A new hybrid creation that draws from the well of ancient women’s tradition with an unapologetic attitude that brings about a new genre on the seam of world music, pop and dance music. Moroccan glam,Ladino Pop, Hakhetiya world fusion, call it what you may - LALA transcends genres to meet the listeners directly through their hearts and hips.
Embodying a cultural mission to not only preserve but reinvent a language and tradition that was nearly buried.
“She has a voice that stirs the soul, and sits there with stunning happiness. She has a gripping presence when this voice bursts into the air, setting up vocally musical time. Lala Tamar (Tamar Bloch Amar) whose first name is loaded with both biblical and natural symbolism (tamar = date) sings like an angel chosen by destiny to awaken us to the spiritual that is within us…”
Albayan (Newspaper) By M'barek Housni 12 | 16 | 2020