Say no more: Transsexual Israeli tops Lebanese song chart
By David Brinn
While overtures recently made by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and President Shimon Peres toward the Lebanese government to enter into direct peace talks have fallen on deaf ears, that doesn’t mean the Lebanese are tuning out everything Israeli. Aderet.
"Say No More," a pulsating trance music track by up-and-coming Israeli female singer Aderet and DJ Dvir Halevi, has been at the top of the playlist this month on the "Beirut Nights" Internet radio station devoted to dance music (www.beirutnights.com).
"We found out they were playing my music by chance," the 32-year-old Aderet said on Wednesday. She grew up in a religious home in Jerusalem and launched her musical career after undergoing a sex change operation following her IDF service over 10 years ago.
"I put out a dance single last year - a cover of Alice DJ’s ’Better Off Alone’ - which was big in the clubs in Israel, and when our production team did a search on Google, we found the song on lots of playlists around Europe and on Beirut Nights."
When Aderet sent the Web site an e-mail thanking them for playing the song, she received a response requesting more of her English songs. The singer, who has previously released two albums in Hebrew - 2001’s Tenth Floor and 2005’s Without the Evil Eye - is readying her first English-language album, Jewish Girl, for release later this year. A month ago, her management sent the album’s first single, "Say No More," and a remix of the song by DJ Dvir Halevi to the Lebanese station.
"They added the remix to the playlist and a few days later, it was at the top of the most played list," said Aderet, who regularly performs at clubs, weddings and private functions in Israel and Europe.
On the Web site’s "Eurodance and Trance Songs" chat forum, the forum’s administrator described the song as an "uplifting tune with super nice lyrics."
"They know I’m an Israeli singer, and that it’s an Israeli song," said Aderet. "It feels great, it’s a big honor for me and makes me so happy that they let a 100 percent Israeli song to be played and to top their playlist without letting politics interfere."
When contacted by The Jerusalem Post a representative of Beirut Nights named Sami responded in an e-mail that Israeli music was regularly featured on the station.
"We grew up in Beirut listening to Ofra Haza and Ishtar Alabina," Sami said. "We play Aderet, but also Dana International, Sarit Hadad, and DJs Yahel and Ofer Nissim. It’s not a policy because there is no policy, it is just music. You shouldn’t make a big deal about it, because it might hurt us since we are surrounded by fanatics who ultimately have no place in Lebanon.
"If you ask 70% of the Lebanese population, they would tell you that Iran is more of an enemy than Israel. If the government needs to implement laws, they should start with laws against terrorists like Hizbullah rather than implement old outdated rules," he said.
While Beirut Nights is only an Internet radio station, Sami claimed it was the most widely listened to site among the Lebanese diaspora, while acknowledging that its reach within Lebanon itself was limited.
Aderet is hopeful that the popularity of "Say No More" will snowball into something more significant, not just for her but for Israel.
"I hope that it will enable more Israeli musicians to break through there, and that maybe through music and the people who love club music, it could help start to bring peace between the Israeli and Lebanese people," she said.•