Jo Amar

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Jo Amar
ג'ו עמר
Birth nameYosef Amar
יוסף עמר
Born1 June 1930
Settat, Morocco
Died26 June 2009 (aged 79)
Woodmere, New York, U.S.
GenresMizrahi, Jewish
Occupation(s)Singer (hazzan)

Yosef "Jo" Amar (Hebrew: יוסף (ג'ו) עמר, Arabic: يوسف (جو) عمار‎) (1 June 1930 in Settat, Morocco – 26 June 2009 in Woodmere, New York[1]) was a noted Moroccan-Israeli singer and hazzan.


Joseph (Jo) Amar began his singing career in the late 1940s in Morocco.[2] In 1956, Amar emigrated from Morocco to Israel where he lived on Moshav Yad Rambam.[3]

He was a pioneer in the introduction of Moroccan Jewish liturgical music to Israel.[4] He became associated with mizrahi music, mixing the melodies of traditional Sephardic Jewish music with Arabic music and Western music.[citation needed]

Amar tried to introduce Mizrahi music originating in Middle Eastern or North African countries to mainstream Israeli culture. He then moved to New York City in 1970,[4] where he performed music and became noted for his work as a Jewish cantor. Within twenty years, he moved back to Israel.[1]

He published an anthology of liturgical music from Morocco and recorded more than 20 albums, including two with the Israeli Andalusian Orchestra (התזמורת האנדלוסית הישראלית). His hits include "Yismah Moshe", "Shalom LeVen Dodi", "Barcelona", "Song of the Drunkard", "Ani Havatzelet HaSharon", and many more.[5]

In 2008, a musical evening of tribute was held in his honor in Jerusalem. Mayor Uri Lupoliansky presented Amar with a certificate of appreciation, and selections from a movie on his life, beginning with his childhood in Morocco, were screened.[5]


Jo Amar died at age of 79, at the home of his son.[1] He had been suffering from Parkinson's disease.[6] He was buried at Moshav Yad Rambam, in central Israel.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Jo Amar, Genre-Blending Jewish Singer, Dies at 79",, 9 July 2009.
  2. ^ Haaretz article: "He opened Israeli ears to Mizrahi songs"
  3. ^ Bar-On, Eran (28 June 2009). ג'ו עמר הלך לעולמו [Jo Amar Passed Away] (in Hebrew). Yedioth Ahronoth. Retrieved 28 June 2009.
  4. ^ a b Fendel, Hillel (2008-07-17). "Sephardic Singer Jo Amar to be honored". Arutz Sheva. Retrieved 28 June 2009.
  5. ^ a b c Fendel, Hillel (30 June 2009). "Sephardic Singer Jo Amar, 79, dies". Arutz Sheva. Retrieved 26 July 2009.
  6. ^ Television tribute to Jo Amar on YouTube


  • Menashe Ravina, Shlomo Skolsky (Ed.): Who is who in ACUM. Authors, Composers and Music Publishers, biographical notes and principal works. Acum Ltd., Societe d'Auteurs, Compositeurs et Editeurs de Musique en Israel, 1965.

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