3. About Yaffa Yarkoni za"l
"People used to say that, late at night, after sitting at the Kassit cafe, the bohemians would move on to the Tslil in Givatayim because there was a young singer there who sang very beautifully," recalls actor Shlomo Bar-Shavit. "We went to Givatayim to see what everyone was talking about, and that is where is saw Yaffa for the first time."
Bar-Shavit tells of Yarkoni's love affair with the microphone. "When Yaffa spoke, she had one voice, and when she sang, she had a different voice," he says. "The microphone really loved her. Her voice would seep into the microphone - it was a lovers' dialogue. They would become one. Her voice would caress the microphone and the microphone would return the love."
More than anything else, Yarkoni is identified with nationalist songs, such as "Bab el-Wad," "Ha'amini Yom Yavo" and "Hen Efshar." However, during the late 1940s and 1950s, she also made a name for herself with so-called ballroom songs, with the rhythm of tango or swing beats.
"The general mood was very anti-ballroom," recalls Koren. "And Yaffa wasn't loved by the media. She wasn't a part of the consensus ... Yaffa was a singer of big bands and dance orchestras. But she was smart enough to make a switch. She made a record of the songs of Mordechai Zaira, sang 'Erev Shel Shoshanim,' made a record from the songs of the young Naomi Shemer, and slowly got herself and the listeners accustomed to the fact that she was going back to singing more nationalist songs. But in truth, deep in her heart, her true love was for swing and jazz and blues. That's what she used to listen to, too."
During the 1960s, Yarkoni performed abroad frequently, gracing some of the best-known stages in the world.
"With her charm and elegance, she was a fantastic ambassador for the State of Israel," says Bar-Shavit.
"While the Israel Defense Forces conquered enemy positions, she conquered the hearts of the soldiers. She was the nightingale of the IDF and the entire nation," President Shimon Peres said about Yarkoni yesterday.