Chava Alberstein

Chava Alberstein
Background information
Born (1947-12-08) December 8, 1947
Szczecin, Poland
Origin Kiryat Haim, Israel
Genres Folk
Folk rock
Years active 1964–present
Labels CBS
Rounder Records
Media Directs

Chava Alberstein (Hebrew: חוה אלברשטיין, born December 8, 1947) is an Israeli singer, lyricist, composer, and musical arranger.


Chava Alberstein, born in Szczecin, Poland, moved to Israel with her family in 1950.[1] She grew up in Kiryat Haim.

In 1964, when she was 17, she was invited to appear at the Hammam Nightclub in Jaffa. She sang four songs accompanied by herself on guitar and her brother Alex on the clarinet.[2] The program was broadcast live on the radio. After a guest appearance on Moadon Hazemer, recorded on Kibbutz Beit Alfa, she signed a recording contract with CBS.[2] Early in her career, she appeared at the Amami Cinema in Haifa's Neve Sha'anan neighborhood. Haaretz columnist Neri Livneh describes her as "a little slip of a thing in a blue youth movement shirt, her face covered by huge glasses".[3]

Alberstein was drafted into the Israel Defense Forces in 1965, and became one of many Israeli artists to rise to stardom by entertaining the troops.

Musical career

Alberstein has released more than 60 albums. She has recorded in Hebrew, English and Yiddish. In 1980, Alberstein began to write and compose. Most of the songs on her album Mehagrim (Immigrants) are her own work.[2] Alberstein's husband was the filmmaker Nadav Levitan, who wrote the lyrics for her "End of the Holiday" album. In 1986 she wrote music for Levitan's film Stalin's Disciples.[4] Levitan died in 2010. Her songs have been included in a number of multi-artist collections, among them "Songs of The Vilna Ghetto" and "The Hidden Gate – Jewish Music Around the World".

Critical acclaim

According to Israel's second largest daily newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, Alberstein is the most important female folk singer in Israel history:[5]

If [Israel has] a true folk singer, it is Chava Alberstein.

Political views and controversy

Alberstein is a champion of liberal causes. Throughout her career she has been an activist for human rights and Arab-Israeli unity.[1] In 1989, Alberstein's song Had Gadya (a spin-off on a traditional song Chad Gadya, which is sung at the Passover seder[6]) in which she criticizes Israel's policy towards Palestinians, was banned by Israel State Radio.[4][7][8] The song was later used in the film Free Zone by director Amos Gitai in Natalie Portman's 7-minute crying scene.[9]

Alberstein is also a champion of the Yiddish language both in her recordings and in a video titled "Too Early To Be Quiet, Too Late To Sing",[10] which showcases the works of Yiddish poets.


Alberstein won the Kinor David (David's Harp) Prize.



Number Album Name (English) Release Date Language References
1 Hine Lanu Nigun Here We Have a Tune 1967 Yiddish
2 Perach haLilach Lilac Flower 1967 Hebrew
3 Tza'atzueiah shel Osnat Osnat's Toys 1967 Hebrew
4 Mirdaf The Chase 1970 Hebrew gold[10]
5 Mot haParpar Death of the Butterfly 1968 Hebrew
6 Chava Alberstein beShirei Rachel Songs of Rachel 1969 Hebrew
7 Margaritkalach Daisies 1969 Yiddish
8 Mishirei eretz ahavati Songs of My Beloved Country 1970 Hebrew
9 Chava beTochnit Yachid 1 One Woman Show 1 1971
10 Chava beTochnit Yachid 2 One Woman Show 2 1971
11 Isha ba'Avatiach A Woman in a Watermelon 1971 Hebrew
12 Chava vehaPlatina Chava and the Platina Jazz band 1974
13 Chava veOded be'Eretz haKsamim Magic Land 1972
14 Lu Yehi Let it be 1973 Hebrew
15 K'mo Tzemach bar Like a wild flower 1975 Hebrew
16 Lehitei haZahav Golden hits 1975 Hebrew gold[10]
17 Tzolelet Tzabarit Sabra Submarine 1975[10] or 1976[12]
18 Elik Belik Bom 1976
19 Halaila hu shirim The Night Is Songs 1977 Hebrew
20 Karusella 1 Carousel 1 1977
21 Karusella 2 Carousel 2 1977
22 Karusella 3 Carousel 3 1977
23 Shirei Am beYiddish Yiddish folk songs 1977 Yiddish
24 Hitbaharut Clearing 1978
25 Chava vehaGitara Chava and the guitar 1978
26 Chava Zingt Yiddish Chava Sings Yiddish 1979 Yiddish
27 Ma Kara ba'Eretz Mi What Happened in the Land of Who 1979
28 Ani Holechet Elai I Go to Me 1980
29 Shir beMatana A Gift of Songs 1980
30 Kolot Voices 1982
31 Shiru Shir im Chava Sing a song with Chava 1982
32 Nemal Bayit At Home 1983 gold
33 Avak shel kochavim Stardust 1984
34 Mehagrim Immigrants 1986
35 Od Shirim beYiddish More Songs in Yiddish 1987 Yiddish
36 HaTzorech baMilah, haTzorech baShtika Word And Silence 1988
37 London 1989
38 MiShirei Eretz Ahavati Songs of my Beloved Country 1990 Hebrew
39 Ahava Mealteret Improvised Love 1991 Hebrew gold
40 HaChita Zomachat Shuv The Wheat Grows Again 1992 Hebrew
41 The Man I Love 1992
42 Margaritkalach Daisies 1994 Yiddish
43 Derech Achat One Way 1995
44 London beHofaah London – Live 1995
45 Yonat ha'Ahava The Dove of Love 1996 Hebrew
46 Adaber Itcha I Will Talk to You 1997 Hebrew
47 The Collection (box set) 1998 Hebrew gold
48 Crazy Flower 1998 Hebrew
49 The Well – With The Klezmatics 1998 Yiddish
50 Chava Alberstein – Yiddish Songs 1999 Yiddish
51 Tekhef Ashuv Be Right Back 1999 Hebrew
52 Children's songs – The Collection 2000 Hebrew
53 Foreign Letters 2001 December
54 The Early Years – The Box Set 2003
55 End of the Holiday 2004 Hebrew
56 Coconut 2005 Hebrew
57 Like a Wild Flower (New Version)
58 Lemele 2006
59 The Milky Way – Songs for Children 2007
60 Human Nature 2008
61 live – from Alberstein's live concert 2008
62 Chava Alberstein – the original albums – four collection CD set 2008


  1. 1 2 Richard Nidel (2005). World music: The basics. Routledge.
  2. 1 2 3 Chava Alberstein bio Archived September 30, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. Haaretz Archived August 11, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. 1 2 Dorůžka, Petr (October 2008). "Chava Aberstein má ráda izraelskou poušť". Harmonie (in Czech) (10). pp. 18–21.
  5. "Chava Alberstein". Aviv Productions, Ltd. December 11, 2001. Retrieved August 22, 2011.
  6. "Adam Zarek – Chad Gadya". Retrieved August 22, 2011.
  7. "Israel: Chava Alberstein banned". Freemuse. Retrieved August 22, 2011.
  8. "Chava Alberstein: Multilingual Folkie". My Jewish Learning. Retrieved August 22, 2011.
  9. Michael Guillen (July 27, 2006). "2006 SFJFF (San Francisco Jewish Film Festival) — Interview With Amos Gitaï".
  10. 1 2 3 4 "Chava Alberstein". Aviv Productions, Ltd. December 11, 2001. Retrieved August 22, 2011.
  11. "Alberstein, Chava (1947–) – Personal History, Influences and Contributions, The First Years (1967–69), Biographical Highlights, Personal Chronology:, The 1970s – Album, Songs, Music, Yiddish, Israeli, and Musical". December 8, 1947. Retrieved August 22, 2011.
  12. "Dartmouth Jewish Sound Archive". Retrieved August 22, 2011.

External links

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