David D'Or (Hebrew: דוד ד'אור; born David Nehaisi on October
2, 1965) is an Israeli singer, composer, and songwriter. A
countertenor with a vocal range of more than four octaves, he is a
three-time winner of the Israeli "
Singer of the Year" and "Best Vocal
Performer" awards. He was also chosen to represent Israel in the
2004 Eurovision Song Contest, at which he placed 11th in the
semifinal. By February 2008, nine of his albums had gone
D'Or performs a wide variety of music, including pop, rock, dance,
folk, klezmer, Yemenite prayers, holy music, ancient chants,
classical, opera, and baroque arias (in the original
2 Music career
2.1 1992–99: Early years
Singer of the Year and Eurovision
3 Vocal style
5 Pseudonym meaning
8 External links
David D'or singing at Israel Prize ceremony
David D'Or was born in Holon, Israel. He is a descendant of Libyan
Jews, His great-grandfather was a prominent
Libyan rabbi, and his
father brought the family from Libya to Israel.
When he was young, D'Or's parents encouraged him to become a lawyer or
a doctor, but he simply loved to sing. When his voice began to
change, he worked to retain his ability to sing notes in a high range.
For a while he was quite shy about singing using his high range, as it
was unusual in Israel—which he explains used to be "quite a
machoistic country—for someone to sing with such a high voice, and
he had no one to imitate as no Israeli men sang in such a high voice,
but he says that now it is "part of me." "[I]t was like using
[only] part of me", he said. "I could sing low and I could sing high;
[I]t's like using only one hand...you have two hands, and you're using
only your right hand."
During his three years of military service, D'Or served as a singer in
the Israeli Military Band, and in 1985–86 he was in the Israeli Army
Central Command troops entertainment group, and took part in the
record Be'sha'araikh Yerikho. Though thankful for the
opportunity, and sensitive to Israel's need to have an army to defend
itself, D'Or felt that music and the army didn't mesh well together,
and viewed his years in the army as a difficult period in terms of his
D'Or is married to Pazit, formerly a jewelry designer and now his
manager. They met as high school students in Bat Yam. They have
two children and reside in the Israeli town of
Savyon near Tel
After his army service, D'Or and two army colleagues (Benny Nadler and
Rivi Ben-Basht) formed a trio named HaShlishiya (the "Threesome"), but
it disbanded after just one single. A few months later he formed
another group, named Kav 4 ("Fourth Chord"), but it disbanded before
completing its inaugural album. At the same time he was invited by
the Israeli National Theater ("Habima Theater") to be in various
performances, among them "Blood Marriage", "Cabaret", "Cry the Beloved
Country (music by Kurt Weill)", and "
Tartuffe (music by Giya
Kancheli)." D’Or performed at the
Habima Theater for
four years, during which time he received outstanding reviews, such as
Maariv's review of Cry the Beloved Country: "D'or's outstanding voice
is meant for great parts. His voice and presence embraces the
audience, who showed their appreciation by a lengthy standing
ovation". He was at the same time professionally trained, and
Soprano Miriam Melzer, from 1987–90 at the Jerusalem
Academy of Music and Dance, from which he graduated.
In 1991, D'Or was accepted into and enrolled in the classical music
department of the
Jerusalem Conservatory. That year D'Or also began
his musical career as a classical tenor. Zubin Mehta, Music Director
of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, heard D'Or sing and invited him
to perform as soloist in "Carmina Burana" by Carl Orff, performing in
a series of concerts all over the country. Yediot Achronot
reviewed his performance, writing: "David D’Or is a contra tenor
with tone, colour and exceptional style well beyond other
1992–99: Early years
In 1992, D’Or released his first album entitled David D'Or. It
included hit song "Yad Anuga", also known as "Yad Agunah" ("Gentle
Hand", or "Tender Hand"), which was remixed by Nelson "Paradise" Roman
and Bump, produced by Ofer Meiri and Yehudit Ravitz, released as a
12-inch single by Big Beat Records and Magnet Records, and
reached # 3 in the most frequently played charts in Great
His second album, Be'govah Mishtane ("Changing Altitudes", or
"Changing Heights"), released January 1, 1993, included the song
"Ani Af" ("I Fly", or "I am Flying"), and what was to become an
iconic Israeli song, "Tishmor al HaOlam Yeled" ("Watch Over the World,
Child", or "Protect Our World, Child"). The latter song
was subsequently covered by
Liel Kolet and Scorpions' singer Klaus
Meine, as well as by Shuly Nathan. The CD consisting mostly of
songs composed by D'Or was even more successful than its predecessor
and went platinum. Globus reviewed the album and wrote the
following: "In an age in which it seems that a good voice is not
particularly necessary to be a singer,
David D'Or comes along and
reminds anyone who had forgotten that not only can things be
different, they need to be different. Simply put, D'Or sings
beautifully and knows how to choose songs that fit his unique
voice...One has to credit him for fulfilling his mission with bravura;
his voice on stage sounds as good and convincing as it does in the
recording studio. The wide variety of styles that he incorporates in
his music, along with his superb vocal ability, allows him to appeal
to adults and youths alike." Later in 1993, D'Or participated in
the televised competition to represent Israel in the Eurovision Song
Contest (Kdam Erovizion), with his song "Parpar," and came in
Side by side with his classical education, D'Or was drawn to ethnic
music. This interest led him in 1995 to record with Moroccan Israeli
Shlomo Bar and the band "Habrera Hativit" ("The Natural Gathering",
"Natural Choice", or "Natural Selection"; composed of ethnic
musicians) and release a popular new album, David & Shlomo (also
known as David and Salomon).
Maariv reviewed the
album, writing: "The
Duet of David and Shlomo is wonderful and
stunning." He also joined Dudu Fisher, Meir Banai, and Eran Zur in
the song "Lisa" on the 1994 album "Radio Blah-Blah" by the Israeli
band "The Friends of Natasha".
In 1995, as Israel and the
Holy See had just established political
relations, D'Or also received an invitation from the Vatican to
perform for Pope John Paul II. His repertoire at this concert,
which was broadcast worldwide and received enthusiastic reviews,
united original ethnic music with European classics, and included a
song D'Or composed specifically for the Pope in both
Italian. He was the first Israeli singer to sing in Hebrew
for the Pope. After he performed for the Pope ("He held my hand
and gave me his blessing", D'Or said. "I just kept thinking: 'Here I
am, little David from Israel, singing in Hebrew...It was a very
powerful thing.'"), D'Or was invited to perform in Italy, where he
appeared on TV shows such as
Maurizio Costanzo on Channel 1, and Paulo
Limiti on Channel 2. The Italian press, such as Corriere della
Sera and La Repubblica, gave D'Or positive reviews.
In 1997, D'Or released his fourth album, David D’Or & Etti
Ankri, with Etti Ankri, which included them singing a duet of
Ankri's hit "Lolita". That year as well the
Orchestra commissioned an original work, a small cantata, specially
written for D'Or, entitled "The Children of God" ("Yeldai Ha
Elohim"). The lyrics consist of sentences that appear in the
Jewish, Muslim, and
Christian religions, emphasizing the message of
"love your neighbor." The work was composed by Georgian-born Israeli
composer Josef Bardanashvilli, subsequently opened in a series of
concerts of the orchestra in Israel and throughout the US, and was a
Singer of the Year and Eurovision
His fifth album entitled Baneshama ("In the Soul") was released on
March 31, 2001, with 11 of the 12 tracks written by
In 2001, D'Or was named Israel's
Singer of the Year and Best Vocal
In 2002, he was again named Israel's
Singer of the Year (receiving the
Tamuz Prize) and Best Vocal Performer, and also received the award for
Best Song for "Kol HaCochavim" at the Israel Music Awards.
9/11 D'Or and Etti Ankri, Zehava Ben, Arkady Duchin, and other
Israeli singers recorded the title song "Yesh Od Tikvah" ("Our Hope
Endures"), for which D'Or wrote the music and lyrics, on the CD Yesh
Od Tikvah/You've Got a Friend. The CD released by
Hed Arzi in
2002 benefited Israeli terror victims, with all proceeds going to
"NATAL": the "Israel
Trauma Center for Victims of Terror and War".
D’Or then released David D’Or & the Philharmonic; Live Concert
on April 1, 2003, which successfully broke traditional
barriers as it combined a medley of pop, classical, and opera which he
sang, backed by the 120-member Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.
The album, which included among other pieces "Agnus Dei", "Orfeo",
"Let Me Cry", and "The Phantom of the Opera" reached gold status in
just two weeks. The newspaper
Yediot Achronot reviewed the CD in
its opera section and wrote the following: "D’Or excelled...with his
fantastic counter tenor voice...in a most exciting performance. All in
all, this is a very moving CD." That year D'Or also released the
CD "Shma Israel",  and "The Hidden Gate:
Jewish Music from Around
the World" was released by
Rounder Records on July 1, featuring what
The Independent described as "haunting stuff" from David D'Or.
In November 2003, the
Israel Broadcasting Authority
Israel Broadcasting Authority (the "IBA") chose
D'Or to represent the country in the 2004 Eurovision Song Contest.
D'Or represented Israel in the contest in Istanbul, with the song
"Leha'amin" (To Believe), which he co-wrote with Ehud Manor.
The song was chosen on February 5, 2004, in voting during the program
"Israel Selects a Song", held during a break in a televised Maccabi
Euroleague basketball game in
Tel Aviv at which videos of
four songs sung by D'Or were shown. The vote was by both a special
IBA Eurovision Committee (including prior Israeli entrants Lior Narkis
and Gali Atari), which accounted for 40% of the vote, and a televote
by viewers, who accounted for the remaining 60% of the vote. The
basketball game attracted 13.7% of Israeli TV viewers. The song
won 60% of the jury's vote, and 66% of the viewers' televotes.
During Eurovision rehearsal week, D'Or left
Istanbul to be with his
father who was suffering from diabetes and had been rushed to a
hospital where one of his legs had to be amputated. D'Or then
Istanbul to perform on May 12, 2004, and placed
11th in the semifinal failing to qualify to the final, while 19% of
Israeli viewers watched on television. His father has since
On June 1, 2004, he released the CD entitled Le Haamin ("To
Believe"). His performance of the song was also on the official
Eurovision compilation CD, Eurovision Song Contest:
released that year by CMC Entertainment.  In 2004, he also
Sarit Hadad to record the
DVD "Pets in Tunes. 
His year was capped by his being awarded the titles of Israeli 2004
Singer of the Year" and "Best Vocal Performer".
In January 2005, he released a clubby, English electronic house vinyl
12" single of George Michael's "Careless Whisper" on the 3 Lanka and
Hed Arzi labels, produced and mixed by DJ Amiad, with remixes by
Future Funk and Michi Lange. The track attracted international
On March 27, 2006, D'Or released Kmo HaRuach ("Like the Wind"), which
included duets with Israeli singers Arkadi Duchin, Arik Einstein,
Shlomi Shabat, and Ehud Banai, and the song "Zman Ahava"
("Time for Love") with Ehud Banai. D'Or composed all the songs on
the album, combining world music with jazz, Thai, and Indian
elements. In 2006, D'Or also collaborated with rapper Subliminal
for the song "Ten Koah" ("Give Me Strength") on Subliminal's hip hop
album, Just When You Thought it Was Over. He also joined Shlomo
Bar in a duet of "Atzlano Kafar Todrah" for the CD The Rough Guide to
the Music of Israel released on February 17, 2006, and sang the
song "Travelling North" or "Heading North" ("Nose'a Tzafonah") on the
2006 CD To the North with Love ("Latsafon Be'ahava"). 
On May 19, 2007, D’Or performed with soprano
Seiko Lee in the world
premier performance of the 40-minute ten-movement "peace cantata",
"Halelu—Songs of David", in Belgrade, Serbia. The concert was
televised to six other
Eastern European countries. The composition for
solo voices, chorus, and orchestra, was a collaborative effort of
D’Or and American composer/conductor David Eaton, Music Director of
the New York City Symphony, who conducted the combined Belgrade
Orchestra and the 120-voice choir of the Academic
Cultural Artistic Society. Halelu is sung in English, Hebrew, Arabic,
and Latin, with greetings of peace of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
figuring prominently in the lyrical content of several movements, and
Psalm 113 (sung in
Hebrew by D’Or) as the basis of the 4th
movement. He then released Halelu—Songs of David; Cantata
for Peace (2007), in which he was accompanied by Lee, the Ra'anana
Symphony Orchestra, and members of the Philharmonia Chorus of
D'Or sang for Dr.
Martin Luther King III
Martin Luther King III at a Middle East Peace
Initiative (MEPI) Conference in the summer of 2007 in Tel Aviv. King
was in tears as D'Or finished his rendition of "Summertime", and the
crowd was on its feet cheering. King was so moved that he extended an
invitation to D'Or to sing at the 2008 "Realize the Dream" celebration
honoring King's birthday at the Covenant Avenue
Baptist Church in
Harlem, New York
Harlem, New York – the last church in New York City that Martin
Luther King, Jr., spoke at prior to his 1968 assassination. D'Or
obliged with a performance of "Amazing Grace" before a crowd including
Bill Clinton and Dr. King who was reduced to
He also performed in the 2007
WOMAD (World of Music, Arts and Dance)
festival concert, and in reviewing his performance
BBC Radio referred
to his voice as "sensational". D'Or described an experience that
he had singing at the festival as follows: "I had a concert in the
Canary Islands...in the
WOMAD Festival in front of something like
20,000 people, and then I saw just in front of me, a group of
Palestinian young people with a huge Palestinian flag. And at the
beginning I was very tense because I didn't know what their intentions
were. I closed my eyes and said 'Look, you speak always about the
power of music and how music can get people close to each other', and
I was like aiming to their heart, and I'm singing especially for them,
and then when I opened my eyes and I saw those people dancing with the
Palestinian flag and singing with me together, and it was for me like
an amazing sight, because this is something that I don't think ever
happened before. I don't know why this world...is
choosing...always...war and hate, because things are much easier to
solve if you just want to solve them, that's what I feel. And maybe
it's naïve, but this is my belief."
On December 11, 2007, D'Or released Live Concert. D'Or composed
most of the songs on the album, which included "Kiss from a Rose" (in
English), "Sri Lanka" (instrumental), and an
In 2008, D'Or also released Shirat Rabim ("Prayers", or "Songs of the
Many"—"A World Prayer; The
Jewish Project of
David D'Or and Patric
Sabag"), a collection of prayers that he had originally heard from his
father, and which he focused on when he started attending synagogue to
say kaddish after his father's death. The album went gold in just
three weeks. He also performed in all the 2008 WOMAD
festival concerts, including in London with Peter Gabriel, the founder
of the world music festival, and won the
WOMAD "Favorite of the
Audience" Award,  though one reviewer wrote that "his
reverb-drenched voice can sound bombastic, even when he is praying for
peace. He is more successful when...in dance-pop". His performance
of the song "Lecha D'odi" is featured on the compilation album Womad
New Zealand 2008, which was released on June 2, 2008, by Shock
Records. The year was capped when D'Or became an Israel
Cultural Excellence Foundation ("IcExcellence") chosen artist in 2008,
receiving one of Israel's highest recognitions for excellence in the
In 2008 and 2009, D'Or performed in a series of "Voice of Love"
charity concerts for the
Tzu Chi Foundation
Tzu Chi Foundation in the United States (New
York, San Francisco, San Jose, Pasadena, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas,
New Jersey, and Washington, D.C.) and Asia (the
Taiwan), and recorded a CD and
DVD by the same name, donating all of
the profits to charity.    The CD has since gone
platinum. The foundation works to improve social and
community services, medical care, education, and humanism in Taiwan
and around the world. By helping others, D’Or said, the foundation,
Buddhist and not Jewish, is involved in the spirit of the Jewish
concept of tikun olam, or "repairing the world". "We believe that all
humanity is connected in a way", said D'Or.
D'Or sang a medley including "Amazing Grace" and a rendition of the
Hebrew melody "Avinu Malkeinu" at New York's Apollo
Theater in Harlem on April 28, 2009, with three New York gospel
In May 2009 D'Or sang, along with
Dudu Fisher and the "Arab-Jewish
Girl's Choir", for
Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI in
Jerusalem at the home of
Shimon Peres as the Pope visited Israel.
D'Or's voice has a range (or "diapason") of more than four
octaves. His vocal range in head voice is from G3 in
scientific pitch notation, up to a well-defined G5 (as heard in one of
the final notes in the "Phantom of the Opera" track in his album David
D'Or and the Philharmonic), thus making him a "mezzo-soprano" type of
D'Or's voice is unusually versatile and flexible, and notable
for its unique tone and color, and for having a very recognizable
sound. His voice is characterized by powerful fullness and richness,
making it seem as though it is his natural singing voice, created
without use of the falsetto technique. However, despite its richness
his voice cannot be compared to the color of a contralto, unlike
singers such as David Daniels, given that D'Or has a unique,
male-sounding timbre. When he sings in modern fashion, he employs his
speaking—or chest—voice, instead of his singing, alto
voice. D'Or has been compared to Italian tenor
Andrea Bocelli (
but with a Middle Eastern flavor), and his voice has been
described as having the smoothness of Jack Johnson overlaid with the
falsetto style of Jeff Buckley.
In addition to singing for two Popes, D'Or has also sung for Israeli
President Shimon Peres, Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, King
Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, the King and Queen of Sweden at the
Swedish Royal Palace in Stockholm, Nelson Mandela, Tony Blair, and
D’Or has performed with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the
Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, the Rome Philharmonic, the London
Symphony, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, the Budapest
Philharmonic, the China Philharmonic Orchestra, the
Orchestra, the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra, the New York
Symphony Orchestra, the Las Vegas Philharmonic Orchestra, and the
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
D'Or has performed across the world, including in the United States,
England, the Canary Islands, Sweden, Germany, Poland, Austria,
Hungary, Serbia, Italy, Turkey, India, Thailand, Australia, China,
Taiwan, Singapore, the Philippines, Morocco, and Israel. He sang
before audiences of 55,000 people in
Trafalgar Square in London, and
40,000 in Paris.
D'Or means "golden" or "of gold" in French, and in Francophone
countries he is referred to as "golden David" or "David of
IFPI Israel Certification
"Changing Altitudes", or
Double Platinum
David & Shlomo
"David and Salomon"
David D’Or & Etti Ankri
"David D’Or & Etti Ankri"
Double Platinum
"In the Soul"
David D’Or VehaPhilharmonic
"David D’eor & the Philharmonic;
"Like the Wind"
Halelu—Shirim Shel David;
"Halelu—Songs of David;
Cantata for Peace"
"Songs of the Many—A World Prayer"
"Voice of Love"
Da Jung Jang
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David D'Or's official site
David D'Or bio at
Hed Arzi (in Hebrew)[permanent dead link]
David D'Or bio at MOOMA (in Hebrew)
David D'Or bio at E! Online (in Hebrew)
David D'Or at AllMusic
Cattan, Olivia, "Rencontre avec David d’Or; «Il faut essayer de
modifier la vision que les Français ont d’Israël et la musique est
un bon moyen de le faire»" Interview with David D'Or, Communauté On
Line (in French)
Bingham, Walter, "
David D'Or interview," Israel Beat
Podcast – 6/6/06
Kohn, Rachel, "The Spirit of Things: Singing the Tradition," David
ABC Radio National
ABC Radio National – 2/24/08
Pavey, Sasha, "
David D'Or interview; WOMADelaide Festival 2008," SBS
World View Program – 6/13/08
Awards and achievements
with Words for Love
Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest
with Hasheket Shenish'ar
Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest
1996 to 1997
Chocolate, Menta, Mastik
Izhar Cohen & Alphabeta
Gali Atari & Milk and Honey
Hakol Over Habibi
Moti Giladi & Sarai Tzuriel
Gili & Galit
Sarah'le Sharon & The Shiru Group
Noa & Mira Awad
"Natati La Khayay"
"Ahava Hi Shir Lishnayim"
"Ze Rak Sport"
"Nadlik Beyakhad Ner"
"Words for Love"
"Together We Are One"
"Push the Button"
"The Fire In Your Eyes"
"There Must Be Another Way"
"Made of Stars"
"I Feel Alive"
Note: Entries scored out are when Israel did not compete
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