The Iranian born internationally renowned Israeli singing Sensation
A living symbol for unity, love & peace
By Dr. Farzad Farahmand:
Published in the December 2012 issue of the Calabasas Times Magazine:
The Iranian born internationally renowned Israeli pop singing sensation and actress, Rita Jahanforuz is considered as one of the most popular female singers in Israel. Her music tends to transcend all religious, political and cultural boundaries, uniting people of all nationalities and plays an important role in bringing peace at an international level. She is also referred to as the "cultural ambassador" between Israeli and Iranian citizens, and states that she hopes to "puncture the wall of tension" between the two countries.
On November 1st, 2012 Rita gave a tantalizing performance at the prestigious Royce Hall in her debut concert in Los Angeles, at the campus of UCLA, as she took the stage in front of a sold out audience of 1800 fans of all ages with different nationalities, religion and cultural backgrounds. Through her exciting and high energy performance with a 9 piece orchestra, she was able to transcend all boundaries of religion and politics which has proven throughout history to separate us from one another.
Rita’s message mainly was that although extremely diverse, we are all one. The question is not how different we are, but how similar. As John Lennon said, “You may think I am a dreamer, but I’m not the only one”. At that concert the dream of many dreamers came true.
At the VIP after party following the concert, Rita ever so humbly entered the gathering and mingled among the fans as everyone celebrated an unforgettable evening.
Her family immigrated to Israel from Iran in 1970. In 1980 while in the army, she began singing professionally in a band as part of a musical troupe. She was first exposed to the international audience in the pre-Eurovision song contest which determined the artist that would represent Israel in the Eurovision song contest. She didn’t make it to the actual contest, however, her song, Shvil habricha performed at the pre-Eurovision contest gained a lot of attention and that same year she released her self titled debut album, Rita, which went Platinum selling over 120,000 copies. A year later in 1987, she released an English album titled, “Breaking those Walls” under the name Rita Farouz. The album exposed her further to the International audience and paved the way to her popularity all over the world.
In 1988 and 1989 she was chosen as Singer of the Year by the Israel's national radio station.
In 1998, Rita was invited to sing the Israeli national anthem Hatikvah (The Hope) as part of Israel's jubilee celebration, following a call from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. She reportedly donated her fee to charity.
Her English song, "Time for Peace," was selected by the World Champion Russian Olympic Ice skating Team, as the team's theme song for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. The Russian Team won the World Championship to Rita's Time for Peace.
And in 2010 she performed in a special concert at the Presidential Residence in Jerusalem, in front of the Italian prime minister, Silvio Burlasconi and the Israeli president Shimon Peres.
She has recently released her first all Persian album singing in Farsi which she speaks fluently. In this album she introduced the single, "Shaneh." The song is based on the traditional Persian folk music, but modernized with a more pop and techno dance beat. Iranians of all ages have responded overwhelmingly to this song.
Even though western music, including Rita’s music is banned in Iran, and despite the government filtering of information on the internet, it doesn’t prevent fans of all ages from downloading and enjoying her music and her latest recordings in the country.
Her 2012 album, "All My Joys," in Persian, is extremely popular among Israeli fans of all ages, causing it to go Gold in Israel within only three weeks of its release.
At the VIP after party following the concert, Rita was commemorated by the Iranian American Jewish Federation, in celebration of their 3 decades of service to the community, on November 1st, 2012.
Rita continues to shine and spread her light all over the world.