Ester Rada is an Israeli actress and singer of Beta Israel origin.

Biography

Rada was born in Kiryat Arba, to a religious family of Ethiopian Jews. Her parents, originally from a village near Gondar, arrived to Israel from a refugee camp in Sudan during Operation Moses, in 1984.[3]

She grew up speaking Amharic at home and Hebrew in school. Her father was known as a cantor in the Ethiopian community in Kiryat Arba. Her parents divorced when she was a child[4] and later on, she moved with her mother and older brother to Netanya in 1996, when Rada was 11 years old, which she considers a turning point in her life, since the family moved to a less observant neighbourhood where the majority were Ethiopian Jews, and also started to interact with French olim, which were familiar with funk and rap, something unheard of in a religious Jewish settlement like Kiryat Arba.[3]

She is currently working on her second album, after releasing her acclaimed first self-written and composed solo EP "Life Happens", which was produced by Israeli producers Kuti (Kutiman/Thru-You) and Sabbo (Soulico), at the beginning of 2013, as well as her first full album, Ester Rada, in 2014.

Career

Rada started her acting career in musical theater, and won an award for her role in Habima Theatre's The Troupe. In 2007, she played a major role in the TV serial "Deus".[5] In the same year she also acted in Habima's play Sdakim bebeton.[citation needed] Her music career started during her military service in the Israel Defense Forces, where she sang singing Israeli pop songs for an IDF band.[6]

After the release of her EP, she started to gain worldwide popularity on a tour across Europe, the United States and Canada. She has recently performed at the Glastonbury Festival. She performed at the opening act of Alicia Keys' concert in Israel. Her music video "Life Happens" has been broadcast on MTV France, East Europe, and Israel, as well as on VH1 UK. Rada credits Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald and Aretha Franklin as her musical influences, alongside Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill,[7]Jill Scott, traditional religious Bnei Akiva songs[4] and Ethiopian Jazz,[8] especially Mulatu Astatke and Mahmoud Ahmed[9]

Rada has performed in several Israeli and international events, such as:

  • InDnegev festival. Mitzpeh Gvulot, 2012
  • Glastonbury Festival, 2013
  • Festival des Musiques Métisses. Angoulême, 2014
  • Festival Banlieues Bleues. Aubervilliers, 2014
  • Small World Music Festival. Toronto, 2015 [6]
  • Lotus World Music and Arts Festival. Bloomington, 2015[9]
  • Coastal Jazz Festival. Vancouver, 2015/2016
  • WOMADelaide. Adelaide, 2016[10]

Life Happens

In early 2013, Rada released an EP, Life Happens[11] with four of her songs. The album was positively received by critics,[12][13] who describe her music as "cross-cultural sound that is a deep reflection of the Israeli born Ethiopian's heritage" and "graceful composition of Ethio-Jazz, funk, soul and r&b, with mixed undertones of black grooves".[14] BBC called this album her debut, highlighting her "powerful, soulful voice and seductive combination of Ethiopian Jazz, funk and R&B."[15]

Ester Rada

On February 9, 2014, her first full album, Ester Rada, was published. The album was very well received by the critics and the public.[16] In addition to the singles already included in her EP, the album included three singles – No More, Sorries and Nanu Nay; the first two became hits on the Israeli radio stations and Nanu Nay reached number seven for a few weeks on the charts, becoming the first song in amharic to be in the top 10 of the Israeli radio charts.

On May 2014, she sang at the Torch-lighting ceremony on Mount Herzl held as part of the Israel Independence Day celebrations.

On early 2015, Rada signed a contract with the label Discograph (belonging to Harmonia Mundi), for the distribution of her Ester Rada album across Europe.

Filmography and TV Appearances

Discography

Full albums

  • Ester Rada (2014)

EPs

  • Life Happens (2013)
  • I Wish (2015)

Personal life

Ester Rada was married to Gili Yalu, the singer in Zvuloon Dub System, an Israeli reggae band. Nowadays, Ester Rada is in a relationship with Gal Dahan, and they have a son named Pele, which in Hebrew means 'wonder' or 'miracle'.[18]

Nominations and awards

Award Category Recipient Result
2013 MTV Europe Music Award Best Israeli Act The Ultras Nominated[19]

External links