The most famous Israeli female vocalist is Rita. Her new album, My Joys, is a departure for the pop singer, whose family fled Iran when she was a young girl. Rita sings classic Persian songs in Hebrew and Farsi. The music appeals to the quarter-million Israelis of Iranian ancestry; and in a strange twist, Rita’s music is circulating through underground channels in Iran, where it is officially banned. The Jewish Israeli singer is now getting e-mails from fans in Tehran. On My Joys, Rita is backed by Knesiyat Hasekhel (The Mind Church), a rock band from Sderot, and members of the Alaev Family, a group with roots in Tajikistan and the Jewish music of Buchara. The result is an enticing musical stew. — M.S.
(American Jewish World, 10.26.12)