Monday, March 18, 2013

Ethiopian-Israeli singer Ester Rada makes Canadian debut

Less than six months after releasing her debut EP album Life Happens, Ester Rada is on a North American tour that brings her to Toronto for two shows on March 21. 

The 28-year-old Israeli is known in her country for her acting roles in theatre and on TV, but she says singing has always been her dream.

“For me, it was natural because I've always loved music,” she says of her switch from acting to singing. “It was like something I had to do.”

She bridges her Ethiopian-Israeli background with her love of American musicians (she sings primarily in English), her religious upbringing, and her experi-ence as an actor. The latter is especially useful for her live performances, helping her channel real emotions into her songs.

Her Ethiopian heritage comes through in some of the melodies and rhythms, as well as through performing some songs in Amharic, a language of Ethiopia.

Most musicians start small, building their audience with each concert, but not Rada. Her first show brought her in front of thousands of people as part of the InDnegev Festival, performing a concert that had critics raving.

“It was the best experience I’ve had,” Rada said. But that doesn’t mean she wasn’t nervous. She worried whether people would enjoy the music, and whether she could call the gig a success. “But I went to the stage, and all the fears went away and it was great.”

She said it’s exciting to finally share her music, which she has been writing since she got a guitar at 15.
“It's kind of frightening to open up to the world, but then I thought about if I don’t do it now, I won’t do it at all,” she said.

Speaking to the The CJN a day before playing the popular South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Tx.  Rada said she could hardly believe she’d be playing such a prestigious festival. 

“I still don't believe it. I'm living my dreams right now,” she said, adding that she won’t truly believe it until she gets onto the stage.

She hopes people who listen to her music will feel peace and love, and will be inspired to be the best person possible.

This part of her tour also takes her to Hamilton, Guelph and Waterloo.

For concert dates and tickets, visit Listen to Ester Rada's debut album below.

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