Shavakeyah, The High Priestess of Soul

On June 19, 2016, in Red Hot Radio, by Wide View Publishing

 

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Interview By Yakira Levi |

Her voice is rich and strong, as she commands the audience to absorb her message of peace. Her stature is strong and sturdy, yet feminine. Her lyrics are infused with heavenly thoughts, dignity, and encouragement. Her source is the Most High, the G-d of Israel.

She has a sultry alto timbre, bold vocal personality, and vigorous melodic phrases that can put you in the mindset of a Tina Turner; but she is Shavakeyah Baht Israel, The High Priestess of Soul, and love has everything to do with her soulful, sensational music.

I watched Shavakeyah and her band, perform live on stage to an enthusiastic crowd of thousands, as she collectively entertained everyone, from children, to the elderly, guest from around the world, dignitaries, and politicians – including the Mayor of Dimona, Israel. Her presence was so captivating, that I was compelled to interview her with admiration, respect, and pride.

Yakira: Are you a spiritual Priestess? Why is your stage name “The High Priestess of Soul”?

Shavakeyah (T.H.P.O.S.): I chose to be The High Priestess of Soul, as a symbol of my direct connection with the [Most High] G-d of Israel; not like Queen, but serving the G-d of Israel in my song.

Yakira: How long have you been singing?

Shavakeyah (T.H.P.O.S.): Since 1974, 1975

Yakira: What’s your musical story or creative history?

Shavakeyah (T.H.P.O.S.): Back in 1973, when I was in Detroit, Michigan I won a recording contract with ABC Records. The music they wanted me to sing was not for me. The lyrics talked about back stabbing and back door this, and the man that put his shoes or feet in my bed… I didn’t want to sing that. When I got to Israel, it’s so amazing that there was a band established called “The Soul Messengers”.

I decided to be a singer after my 1st, of four children was born in the Land [Israel]. My daughter Navah Baht Israel is also a great singer here. When I started this career, my sister wife and I had a group called “The Angeletts”. We had 1 [single] entitled “Sweet Land of Mine” and we had 2 songs on the “Soul Messengers” album. “The Angeletts” toured with the “Soul Messengers” and our group was together for 16 years. During our time together we won a Jazz Singer of the Year Award (for lyrics and performance), from Histadrut https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Histadrut (Israel’s Trade Union).

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At one point, I used to perform with a band called “From the Other Side”. This band had members from all over the world including Israel, America, Germany and others. We performed all original material. Everybody loved the band. The Israeli Government was going to send us [to the Soviet Union] to represent Israel and perform, back when there was that terrible chemical problem in Chernobyl Russia in the late 80’s   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chernobyl_disaster They [the Government] wanted us to go, but we didn’t have passports, so we couldn’t. I believe that’s why they went on and gave us status – to the whole community. There were things going on simultaneously that helped. I’ve been to Russia 10-11 or 12 times since then.

Right now, I have a partner that I have been working with for over 25 years strong; his name is Avi Eilot. Together we made it to the International Television Singing contest Ko-Ka-Vah which means A Star Is Born. This TV show is sponsored by Eurovision http://www.eurovision.tv/page/stockholm-2016/about and there is a large cash prize to the winner. We did not win; but the people thought we should have won. The song we performed is called “A New Day”.

Yakira: Did you write the song “A New Day”?

Shavakeyah (T.H.P.O.S.): My Partner Avi Eilot wrote the song. That song was remembered by all of Israel, and it catapulted me to international stardom. “A New Day” was written as a birthday present. Avi Eilot wrote the song after he was totally disrespected at one of our performances. They told him to step 10 paces back [out of the spotlight so they could see me]. I didn’t want him to step back and I told them I wouldn’t perform without my partner. Despite how he felt, Avi Eilot decided to step back the 10 paces, and encouraged me to perform in the spotlight. That experience made him understand how important our relationship is; we even raised each other’s children. My partner went from a meat eater to a vegan, a gangster to a G-d praying man; and I was not trying to influence him, but somehow it did. They may have made him step 10 paces back, but when he wrote that song, he stepped up 20 paces.

Yakira: Are you involved in the business of your music career, or just performance?

Shavakeyah (T.H.P.O.S.): As an agent, I sold the groups created by others in Dimona, Israel. I spearhead the opportunity for other entertainers to perform. I used an opportunity to create the name “The Holy Land Singers”; a group of 20 people including adults and children; “The Spirit of Israel” and “The Jerusalem Fire Choir”.

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Yakira: As an entertainer in Israel, did you face racism?

Shavakeyah (T.H.P.O.S.): The biggest problem I had to face was being called Kushim https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cushi that’s like being called black or [the derogatory N word]. At first some people said they hated me, but now they say they love me because I stuck it out, and stayed my presence in the Land [Israel]. The hardest thing they had to change, was calling me Kushi. At times, I would bring groups to perform and the announcer would say, “And now we have the Kushim from Dimona”; but now there are also whites, so they can’t call them that. That’s why the names are so important. The names tie us to the Land.

Yakira: When you perform in other groups, does it affect your solo career?

Shavakeyah (T.H.P.O.S.): We still play with the “New Soul Messengers” Band of 14 people, and it has not affected my solo career at all. I’m actually one of the main singers. I do a lot of work and Television, I perform at festivals, private events, political events entertaining the Prime Minister, and I just appeared on the Israeli Big Brother TV program http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2331485/

Yakira: I’d like to broadcast your music, and include a current performance with this interview.

Shavakeyah (T.H.P.O.S.): Ok

Knocking on Heaven’s Door (Jam Session)

Yakira: Thank you so much for everything, for your time, and for your talent.

Shavakeyah, The High Priestess Of Soul: You’re welcome.

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If you like Shavakeyah Baht Israel, The High Priestess of Soul, check out http://RedHotRadio.Fm and listen daily, to the online radio show “Kingdom Sounds” at 9:00 am, Central Standard Time – 5:00pm Jerusalem time. Check the Shows tab for other scheduled programs. Listen from the audio player under the listen tab, or use the player at the top of this page above the calendar.

3 Responses to Shavakeyah, The High Priestess of Soul

  1. I have enjoyed this interview with Shavakeyah, The High Priestess of Soul. Thank you Yakira for expanding my interest and horizon in Cultural Music that’s stimulating to my soul. Your adventure, and your non-profit is delightful and very encouraging! I am blessed to have you as a friend on facebook. I hope I can make you just as proud as I Am. Keep up the Life my Sister of Sounds to the eyes and ears. Love is blooming in my heart and spirit!

  2. Ammikhi says:

    She Truly is the Priestess of Soul!!!!…SALUTE!!! RESPECT!!!!

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