Magazine article Variety

Rita

Magazine article Variety

Rita

Article excerpt

This multiplatinum Israeli thrush has a fan base that crosses Mideast borders

WMY NAME

The U.S. may have Madonna and Prince, but Israel has its own single-monikered pop star, Rita, who for decades has been considered the most famous crooner in the country. And here's the kicker: She's also really big in Iran.

EARLY YEARS

Rita was born Rita Jahanforuz in Iran in 1962. Her family left for Israel when she was 8, slipping out nine years before that country's Islamic Revolution. "I remember a completely different country," she says. She got her start at the mic as part of a musical troupe while serving in the Israel Defense Forces, and in 1986 her first album,

"Rita," went triple platinum. "My story is a Cinderella story," she says. "I'm still in awe at how Israel embraced me from the first day I came onstage."

SINGING IN THE STREETS

Rita flew the flag for Israel at the 1990 Eurovision Song Contest with "Shara Barkhovot" (Singing in the Streets), but she placed only 18th at the event. …

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