Esther Ofarim, 1966
|Birth name||Esther Zaied|
|Also known as||Esther Reichstadt|
|Born||June 13, 1941|
Safed, British Palestine
|Genres||Folk, pop, Jewish Yemenite|
|Labels||Hed Arzi, Israphon, Philips, EMI, Mercury|
Esther Zaied, better known by her married name Esther Ofarim (Hebrew: אסתר עופרים; born June 13, 1941), is an Israeli singer. She came second in the 1963 Eurovision Song Contest with the song "T'en va pas", representing Switzerland. After marrying Abi Ofarim in 1958, she was half of the husband-and-wife folk duo Esther & Abi Ofarim in the 1960s. After the couple divorced, she undertook a successful solo career.
Life and career
Esther Zaied was born in Safed to a Syrian Jewish family. She began performing as a child, singing Hebrew and international folk songs. In 1958, Esther met Abi Ofarim, a guitarist and dancer, whom she later married. She was a student in his dance studio in Haifa. Esther served four months in the Israeli Army before she was released due to her marriage to Abi.
American director Otto Preminger cast Esther for a small role in the film Exodus (1960). In 1960, Esther landed the role of Katzia in the play The Legend of Three and Four at the Habima Theatre. In 1961, she won first at Israel's first pop song festival in Tel Aviv, where she sang "Saëni Imchá Bemachol" (Take Me with You When You Dance) and "Naamah", written by Pnina and Tsvi Avni, accompanied by Kol Yisrael orchestra under Gary Bertini.
In 1962, Esther released her self-titled debut solo album and was invited to join Frank Sinatra in his performances in Israel. Kol Yisrael radio then sent her to the Sopot International Song Festival in Poland. She came in second place for singing "Stav", written by Moshe Wilensky and Shimshon Halfi.
Esther and Abi settled in Geneva, Switzerland, where she took part in the 1963 Eurovision Song Contest representing Switzerland with the song "T'en va pas". In a very close and controversial competition with the Danish duo Grethe and Jørgen Ingmann, her song placed second. Initially it appeared Switzerland had won the contest with 42 points to Denmark's 40, but after an apparent change to the Norwegian scores, Ofarim ended up with 40 points, as opposed to 42 points for "Dansevise", a reversal of the initial result.
In 1963, Esther had a starring role in the German film Es war mir ein Vergnügen.
Esther & Abi Ofarim
In 1963 and 1964, Esther and Abi had success on the charts in Europe. In the fall of 1964, Esther embarked on a tour of the United States with the Smothers Brothers. Speaking about a performance at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon. Jim Albright, campus correspondent, stated: Everyone expected the Smother Brothers to be great, but Ester [sic] turned out to be fabulous...people were amazed with her singing and her looks."
By 1965, Esther was well known throughout Europe. She headlined in the major concert halls and theaters. She starred in German films and had her own television specials on BBC and Eurovision. For some time, Esther and Abi's records were banned on radio stations in Israel due to Germany–Israel relations.
In 1966, Abi and Ofarim had their first hit with "Noch einen Tanz", an English version of which, "One More Dance", was a hit in the UK two years later, peaking at No. 13. Their greatest success in Germany was in 1967 with "Morning of My Life", which was written by the Bee Gees. In 1968 "Cinderella Rockefella" hit the top of the charts in a number of countries including the UK. They performed live concerts in New York City and London, and they toured Europe before separating in 1969.
Esther began recording as a solo artist in the early 1960s. She often sang in different languages. In 1967, she recorded, Esther im Kinderland, in which she sang 20 children's songs from eight countries in six different languages. After her divorce from Abi, she continued performing and released several albums.
In 1984, she played in Joshua Sobol's play Ghetto, produced by Peter Zadek in Berlin. There she sang songs including "Frühling" and "Unter deinen weissen Sternen". Her songs were featured in the 2004 Israeli film, Walk on Water.
Esther later married assistant television director Philipp von Sell, who is 18 years her junior. They had a son, David von Sell, born in New York in 1983. Esther and Phillip divorced when David was nine. David is a musician, he attended Berklee College of Music in Boston.
In 1966, Esther was voted Germany's best female singer.
- 1962: אסתר רייכשטאט (Esther Reichstat) (Israphon)
- 1965: Esther Ofarim (Philips P 48.131 L)
- 1965: Is It Really Me! (Philips PHS 600-185)
- 1967: Esther Im Kinderland (Philips 843 995 PY)
- 1969: Esther Ofarim (Philips PHS 600-343)
- 1972: Esther (HÖR ZU SHZE 367)
- 1972: Esther Ofarim (EMI Columbia)
- 1982: Complicated Ladies (Mercury)
- 1988: Hayu Lailot (התקליט)
- 2005: Back On Stage (Tropical Music)
- 2009: In London (Bureau B)
- 2009: I'll See You In My Dreams: Live 2009 (Tropical Music)
|1963||"T'en vas pas"||39|
|"Melodie einer Nacht"||39|
|1964||"Morgen ist alles vorüber"||23|
Esther and Abi Ofarim
- Achterfeld, Wilfried (February 16, 1966). "Die Ofarims" [The Ofarims]. Stern magazine 16 Feb 1966 (in German).
- Murrells, Joseph (December 31, 1984). Million selling records from the 1900s to the 1980s: an illustrated directory. Batsford. p. 267. ISBN 978-0-7134-3843-7.
- "Esther Ofarim - 1961 Israeli Song Festival". www.esther-ofarim.de. Retrieved June 3, 2020.
- "Israel Pop Song Festival" (PDF). Billboard: 42. September 8, 1962.
- "Polish Song Fest Names Winners" (PDF). Billboard: 26. August 11, 1962.
- Hung, Steffen. "Esther Ofarim - T'en vas pas". Dutch Charts. Retrieved June 2, 2020.
- Gross, Mike (October 3, 1964). "People and Places" (PDF). Billboard: 10.
- "College Circuit". Billboard: 8. November 28, 1964.
- "Esther Ofarin Interviewed in Israel Hookup" (PDF). Billboard: 18. April 10, 1965.
- "Lift Artists Ban: Bonn to Israel" (PDF). Billboard: 36. October 29, 1966.
- "One More Dance". Officialcharts.com. Retrieved June 7, 2015.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records. p. 404. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- "BILD 9.5.1969 - Esther and Abi Ofarim split - Esther trennt sich von Abi:sie singt nur noch allein". www.esther-ofarim.de (in German). Retrieved September 10, 2016.
- "From Music Capitals of the World: Hamburg" (PDF). Billboard: 44. February 24, 1968.
- "The Young Generation meet Esther Ofarim - BBC One London - 25 February 1970 - BBC Genome". genome.ch.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved September 10, 2016.
- "Abi Ofarim obituary". The Times. May 18, 2018. ISSN 0140-0460.
- "Cinderella Corner Rockefeller: David Von Sal, Esther Ofarim's son, cries at her performance".
- "Top Performers at Edison Awards" (PDF). Billboard: 6. October 16, 1965.
- "From the Music Capitals of the World: Hamburg" (PDF). Billboard: 63. December 3, 1966.
- "Esther Ofarim". Offizielle Deutsche Charts. Retrieved June 2, 2020.
|Awards and achievements|
with "Le retour"
| Switzerland in the Eurovision Song Contest
with "I miei pensieri"