Saturday, April 16, 2011

Notes on Dana International

1. Dana is going back to the Eurovision Song Contest. After winning as Israel's representative in 1998, she is returning in 2011 (May 10, 12, 14), to represent Israel with the song "Ding Dong."

Here's her 1998 winning performance of the song "Diva."

And here is "Ding Dong."

I vastly prefer "Diva," but that doesn't mean that "Ding Dong" can't win.

2. Here's a youtube video of Dana's performance of one of her earliest songs, "Sa'ida Sultana." If the date is correct (1993), then Dana has just had or will soon have sex change (MTF) surgery. Note how she simulates bellydancing early on, when Ofer Nissim is playing a kind of 'Oriental' riff on the keyboards.

The song is a "version" of Whitney Houston's 1990 hit "My Name Is Not Susan," sung entirely in Arabic, except for the last verse, sung in English, and drawn from Whitney's original. (Watch the vid here.)

You can and should check out the lyrics, which are quite clever, here (scroll down a bit).

3. Dana was rather inactive from 2002-2006, but returned with a new album in 2007. One of the most interesting of its tracks was "Seret Hodi," a Bollywoodish number, done with Idan Yaniv. Dana's early releases (1993-96) featured a number of tracks in Arabic. Since then it's primarily Hebrew and some English. Does "Seret Hodi" represent a kind of "return" to her Eastern roots, or is it just an attempt to ride the Bollywood wave? Or both? In any case, here's the video:

4. You can read an article I published about Dana in 2000 here.

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