Many of us were amazed to hear the haunting voice of Neta Elkayam, the Israeli singer who performs traditional Moroccan songs. Who hasn’t shared with friends via Facebook or WhatsApp, her videos in which she wonderfully interprets timeless Moroccan masterpieces?
She is a famous Israeli singer whose origins go back to Morocco. She is an Amazigh from Tinghir, where her paternal grandparents were born. Her mother was born in Casablanca. Her parents immigrated to Israel, where she was born in 1980 in the town of Netivot, home to the largest gathering of Jews of Moroccan origin.
Neta Elkayam is passionate about the Moroccan heritage, which is very diverse. She has set herself the goal and challenge of promoting and reviving it by making it younger. Thanks to her talent and persistence, she has managed to carve out a prestigious place for herself on the artistic scene in Israel, and to become the favorite singer of Oriental Jews, especially those of Moroccan origin, for whom her voice and songs serve as a flying carpet that takes them back to the places of their lost paradise.
“Moroccan music does not only exist in Morocco. The Moroccan Jewish community has brought wonderful traditions to Israel. Our grandmothers spoke the Moroccan dialect. At weddings and celebrations, Moroccan music is very present. In the temples, our rituals are done in the Moroccan way. We live in Morocco every day, even when we are far from this beloved country,” explains Neta Elkayam.
Neta Elkayam shares her love of Moroccan heritage with her husband, Amit Hai Cohen, from Ouarzazate, who plays the piano with her. They live in Jerusalem, sharing a love of music and Moroccan heritage.
Neta Elkayam has participated in many Moroccan festivals and has represented Morocco in many artistic and musical events around the world. The story of her passion for Morocco was the focus of the documentary film “In your eyes, I see my country”, by Moroccan director Kamal Hachkar, who is passionate about Moroccan Jewish heritage, and also around “Tingir-Jerusalem”, a film focusing on the Amazigh roots of Moroccan Jews.