6 June 2017

Uzi Hitman Ba'aretz Hazot ~ עוזי חיטמן בארץ הזאת

 When I am trying to learn a new language, I find that I need to hear the spoken word in order to acquaint myself with the pronunciation of words.  To this effect, last year whilst I was trying to learn Hebrew, I wanted to listen to Israeli songs.  I asked an acquaintance to recommend an Israeli singer to me and she gave me the name of someone but I did not like his voice.  Then I started searching on the internet and after listening to numerous songs by different artists quite by chance I came across a soundtrack by Uzi Hitman.  The song was entitled, Ba'aretz Hazot.  This was it, this was what I was looking for a song sung by a singer with a clear voice who not only sung at a slow pace but clearly enunciated each word.  This song came to define my journey into the Hebrew language.  I listened to it so much that I almost memorised the words.  When I did a search on the internet I found out that sadly, Uzi Hitman had died in October 2004 of a heart attack at the age of 52.  I wanted to include this song in my blog as it has meant so much to me and it will serve as a reminder of my time in Tel Aviv and my endeavour to learn to read, speak and write Hebrew.

Uzi Chitman (Hebrew: עוזי חיטמן‎‎, born June 9, 1952 – died October 17, 2004) was an Israeli singer, songwriter, composer and television personality. Chitman was born in Giv'at Shmuel and lived all his life in Ramat Gan.  His parents, Holocaust  survivors, followed a traditional Jewish lifestyle; his father served as a cantor. He and his siblings attended secular schools. At home they listened to the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Enrico Macias and opera along with liturgical and religious songs. When Chitman was 11, his parents gave him his first guitar, which he taught himself to play. When he turned 17, he received a piano from his grandmother.

His career began in 1976, when he composed a popular melody for Adon Olam.  He became a popular Israeli artist during the 1980s and 1990s. He composed and wrote over 650 songs. His most famous songs include Noladati Lashalom (I Was Born for Peace), Ratziti Sheteda (I Wanted You to Know), Todah (Thank you), Mi yada' sh'kach yihiye (Who Knew It Would Be Like This) and Kan (Here), which reached third place during the 1991 Eurovision Song Contest.  Chitman also appeared on the 1980s children's programes Parpar Nechmad and Hopa Hei and Shirim K'tanim

He died after a heart attack at the age of 52. He was buried at the Yarkon Cemetery near Tel Aviv.  The City of Ramat Gan  renamed Kikar Hashoshanim (Roses Square) in his neighborhood residence to Kikar Chitman (Chitman Square).

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