Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Dana International/Yaron Cohen in Kufiya

This photo is from the first published interview with Yaron Cohen/Dana International, published in the newspaper Tel Aviv, on August 14, 1992. It appears on the amazing website devoted to Dana International, put together by Geir Skogseth. The interview was published in Hebrew, and is translated by Ziv Geri.

The photo is of Dana as a drag queen, from the period when Yaron started out, in early 1992, performing in clubs in Eilat and Tel Aviv, on revues organized by Ofer Nisim. She became famous during this period doing a send-up of the Whitney Houston song, "My Name Is Not Susan." Yaron pretended to be Whitney Houston, performing in Saudi Arabia, and singing verses (from Whitney's song) in English as well as verses made up by Dana, sung in Arabic. The song was called "Sa'ida Sultana" (in it Dana shouts, "My Name Is Not Sa'ida!"). This song was subsequently recorded and became Dana International's first hit. A couple years later, it was a sensation in Egypt, on a bootleg cassette.

Who knows what song(s) she performed while wearing kufiya.

A video of Dana (backed by Ofer Nisim) doing "Sa'ida Sultana" is now available on youtube.

And Geir Skogseth has made the lyrics to the song (complete with a translation of the lyrics) available here. The lyrics on the video vary a bit from the recording, which Geir has transcribed. In the vid, for instance, she sings, "Ana 'ismi Whitney Houston" (My name is Whitney Houston) rather than "Ana 'ismi Solli Sa'dun."

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