Meanwhile, the High Priestess of Israeli Song Celebrates Independence Day at a Gay Nightclub
By Omer Barak in Haaretz
At 9:30 P.M. Wednesday, Israeli diva Yaffa Yarkoni, going on 80, sat back stage wearing a shiny white dress and tapping her fingers nervously. A few minutes later, she would begin a night of performances marking Israel's 57th birthday, first on the central stage at Tel Aviv's Rabin Square, and ending among hundreds of shirtless gay fans at the Vox club in the same city.
"Let's honor the first lady, the pioneer, the high priestess of Israeli song," boomed the MC. The young crowd was a bit disoriented, but the images of tanks rolling across a screen and the sounds of, "The sun will stand still between Gaza and Rafah," helped provide some context. [snip]
"Hey, Hey, let's have our fill of joy," Yarkoni served up old favorites, followed by a sequence of childrens songs. Parents helped their younger kids along with the tunes. Later, "It's all because of love," which anyone 28 and up can hum along to. In one corner, a group of youngsters broke into a hora dance. "Like, duh..." Of course everyone knows Yaffa Yarkoni. She's thirty years older than anyone who knows her songs by heart, but still, she seems to belong on stage, as natural and immortal as the blue and white flags and the reams of string foam.
And yet, the singer misses her old audiences, perspiring men in fatigues huddling at the base of a hill, resting, their weapons cocked for when the fight resumes. Perhaps this is why she didn't think twice when she was invited to perform at Vox, a gay mega-dance club in southern Tel Aviv. But perhaps it was because Yarkoni is a "stage animal" who believes, "There is no bad audience, only bad artists." ETC...