Noted Sefardic Singer Joe Amar Passes Away


joe-amar[Video below of ‘Barcelona’.] World renowned Moroccan singer Jo Amar passed away in New York on Erev Shabbos at age 79. Amar was an Israeli icon for the first decades of the state’s existence, a favorite of the newly arrived Sephardic immigrants in the country. Jo (Yosef) Amar was born in Morocco in 1930, and traveled to Eretz Yisroel in 1956. He was considered the first singer to introduce Moroccan Jewish liturgical music

in Israel. Many recall his singing of “Barcelona” at the second A Time for Music conert for HASC, but his impact on many people was far greater.

Amar, who immigrated to Israel in 1956, pioneered the fusion sound of Israeli eastern Mizrachi music, merging classical Jewish Sephardic and Arabic tunes with contemporary musical sensibilities, along with lyrics that discussed the personal and social angst and joys of Middle Eastern immigrants who sought to find a place in Israeli society. He was also a highly-regarded chazzan.

In 1970, Amar settled in New York. Amar produced more than 20 albums.

His body arrived earlier tonight in Eretz Yisroel and the levaya will take place tomorrow, Sunday, at Yad Rambam, the moshav where he resided in recent years.

Joe is survived by four children and ten grandchildren.

May his memory be blessed.

Click below to view a video of Joe singing his hit ‘Barcelona’ in 1978.

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{Yair Israel/Arutz Shevah}