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Singing legend Hedva Amrani returns to concert stage with ‘My Israel’

Israeli pop star and folk icon Hedva Amrani returns for her first concert in 12 years in a special event at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Dec.14 at the American Jewish University (AJU), 15600 Mulholland Dr. in Bel Air.

The evening will feature new modern and ethnic arrangements by composer and music director Sharon Farber, highlighting Amrani’s 40-year career. She will be joined on stage by guest singers and 10 musicians.

Mayor Jimmy Delshad is expected to present Amrani with a proclamation from the City, and the consul generals from both Israel and Japan, where she had a big hit, plan to attend.

Amrani will perform songs from her beginnings as a folk singer in the famous duo, Hedva & David. In 1970, the duo won first place in the Yamaha Song Festival in Tokyo, Japan, with the song I Dream of Naomi (Ani Cholem Al Naomi). which sold more than a million copies in Japanese.

Amrani recorded her first hit song while serving in the Israeli Defense Forces in 1962 and in the late ’70s launched her solo career with hits In One Heart (Salam Aleikum) The Two of Us (Shneinu Yachdav) and many more. Her songs are played daily on Israel’s radio stations and heard throughout the country.

She recently flew to Israel at the request of her friend President Shimon Perez to take part in his 87th birthday concert at the Cameri Theater. “I was the finale,” she says.

Her commitment to Israeli music and her role as a cultural icon and diplomat have earned her the title of “The Voice of Israel.”

While she’s lived in Beverly Hills for 39 years with husband Dr. Dudley Danoff and children who attended Hawthorne, she feels a special attachment to her homeland.

“Israel is a place I can’t get out of my system,” Amrani says.

The AJU concert, Amrani says, is the result of friends and fans asking, “Why don’t you sing? Where can we hear you?” both in person and on Facebook.

While she’s enjoyed slowing down and taking things at her own pace; “ I figured it was time to do something for those people who really want to hear me,” she said.

“I didn’t really promote my last recording, so the concert will feature songs from that CD, my biggest hits and songs from my repertoire.”

The 2007 CD is a collection of work from Israel’s top writers ranging from Ehud Manor, who wrote a song for Amrani just a few weeks before he died with a melody by Korin Al Al to three songs from Israel Bright from the “Smachot.”

For Amrani, a highlight is the song she wrote with her son, David Danoff.

A little anxious to return to the concert stage—“I haven’t done something like this for many years,” Amrani says—she chose the “beautiful” 500-seat AJU theater for its “nice and warm ambiance that I think people will like.”

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