“My musical career started only at the age of 37”

Ilana Eliya –“I have a strong memory of my father, a cantor by profession, sitting near the radio at our home in Jerusalem, listening to stations that broadcast from the small, mountain villages that are scattered on the Iraqi-Turkish border – the rural region of Kurdistan, his birthplace.

I grew up on that music, as my father continuously played and sang those traditional Kurdish sounds. Later on, as a teenager, I wanted to learn more about that fascinating oriental music. However, back then there was no music school teaching that field- so instead, my parents sent me to YMCA Jerusalem, where I learned to sing aria and gospel.

My first actual experience with Kurdish folk music was only in 1988, after my father passed away- which means my musical career started only in the age of 37.

Since then I have published three albums plus two singles. My artistry entwines old traditions from the mountains of Kurdistan and local, Israeli traditions, as I sing in Kurdish, Hebrew and Arabic. I perform in Ethnic, Israeli and Jewish festivals around the world and my songs’ subjects are diverse, ranging from women and political protest to love and wedding songs.”


Ilana’s YouTube