Palestinian by heritage, Israeli by citizenship, Mira Awad had to learn the balancing act from an early age. Moving from a society that discriminated against her based on gender to one that does so based on nationality, this experienced acrobat manages to keep impeccable equilibrium with a big smile on her face. The Israeli-Palestinian issue has never been so personal, ironic and entertaining.
Born in Rama village in the Galilee, to Palestinian father-Anwar, and Bulgarian mother-Snejanka, currently living in Tel-Aviv. She studied at the Rimon School for Jazz and Contemporary Music and throughout her career she developed a unique fusion of sounds, combining the East with the West, weaving the Arabic language and it’s oriental ornaments with Western harmonies, and bringing together her passions for folk, rock, jazz, latin music, traditional Middle Eastern and Balkan music into a rich tapestry of sounds, songs and observations.
Mira has collaborated with a wide range of world-famous musicians: Noa (Achinoam Nini), Idan Raichel, Greek singer George Dalaras, hip hop artist Guy Mar, David Broza, Joca Perpignan, international star Andrea Bocelli and the one and only Bobby Mc’Ferrin. She now regularly collaborates with Rolling Stones saxophonist Tim Ries.
Mira worked as an actress with the Tel-Aviv Cameri Theatre, she also was Eliza Doolittle in the renown musical “My Fair Lady”, and stars on the highly rated TV series “Arab Labor” that deals with the complex reality of Palestinians inside Israel. Movies: “The Bubble”, directed by Eytan Fox. “Zaytoun” by director Eran Riklis. “Farewell Baghdad” by director Nissim Dayan. She recorded the theme songs for the films “Forgiveness” by director Udi Aloni, and “Lemon tree” by Eran Riklis.
She participated in the 5th season of the Israeli version of “Dancing with the stars”. She competed in the Eurovision song contest 2009 alongside Noa with the song “There must be another way” from their duet album carrying the same name, released by Universal Music. Her debut solo album “Bahlawan-Acrobat” was released May 2009, and was produced by Israeli guitarist Amos Ever-Hadani. She was signed as a Sony Spain artist in 2011 and released her second album “All my faces” with Spanish musical producer Carlos Jean.
In 2013 she decided to go independent again and created her own label named Label Free and is currently working on her 3rd album. Mira is very much identified with the agenda of dialogue and co-existence among people and with the environment, raising a call for human solidarity everywhere in the world.
Mira’s newest single release, Yaba (Father), from her upcoming double album HuMAN/WoMAN speaks about identity and belonging. Mira Awad writes, “My father and I were born and raised in the same exact geographical spot – A village called Rameh in the Galilee. However, he was born in 1936 in what was called Palestine, while in 1975 I was born in Israel. The song Yaba is about our identity as native Palestinian citizens of this troubled homeland.”
N.Y. / Region
A Rainbow of Fragility
By STEPHEN HOLDEN
-Published: June 5, 2013-
A line from the Sting song “Fragile” — “Nothing comes from violence/And nothing ever could” — became much more than a sad reflection on human nature when sung by the Arab-Israeli singer and songwriter Mira Awad at the Metropolitan Room on Tuesday evening. Ms. Awad, 37, who sings in Arabic and English and occasionally in Hebrew, was born in Rameh in Galilee to a Palestinian father and Bulgarian mother. She stars in “Arab Labor,” a popular Israeli television comedy about Jewish and Arab coexistence.
Her version of the austere Sting ballad, which when harmonized in a certain way assumes a Middle Eastern modality not unlike that of Ms. Awad’s original songs, was one of the strongest moments in a show, “Arabic Fusion,” in which she was joined by the guitarist Avi Fox-Rosen. Ms. Awad played several instruments, including guitar, frame drum and most strikingly, a nay, a Middle Eastern flute in which the whoosh of the player’s breath fuses with the tone of the instrument and makes it possible to make vocal sounds while playing.
Ms. Awad’s emphatic rendition of “Fragile” lent it the immediacy of a peace anthem. Among her original compositions, “Bahlawan” stood out. It describes a profound feeling of trying to maintain balance on an emotional and political tightrope.
Ms. Awad speaks English well, and delivered several songs in two languages. Especially when singing in Arabic, she became a passionate, multilayered interpreter negotiating the complex melismas and curlicues of her long-lined folk songs with a confident authority.
This music, with its entrancing sensuality accentuated by the singer’s guttural crooning, was intensely seductive, and I felt drawn into its mysterious spell. Although her songs can be happy, the predominant mood suggested ancient sorrow built into the music.
Whether expressing a desire for peace and reconciliation or personal longing, Ms. Awad evoked a world of division, of lovers torn apart, of people waiting for the dawn with a complicated mixture of despair and hope. When Ms. Awad explained the songs in English or translated passages, the sentiments tended to sound banal. But when she sang in Arabic, primal feelings that may be impossible to translate into any language came to the fore.
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