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This week's artist is....DANA INTERNATIONAL!

By Krikor K.

Dana International is the stage name of Sharon Cohen, a transsexual Israeli pop singer.
Sharon Cohen was born on February 2 1972 in Tel Aviv (Israel) and named by her parents as Yaron. The name was from her uncle who died in a terrorist attack. She was born genetically male, but identified with the female sex from a very young age as in the case of many male to female transsexual people. She was the youngest of three children (Her older sister is Limor and her brother Nimrod).

Sharon realized very early in life that she was a performer. She enjoyed the Eurovision Contest and followed it closely, especially when Ofra Haza represented Israel with the song Chai(1983). She had a very happy childhood, and although her family was quite poor, her mother always found money to pay for her music lessons. She wanted to become a singer when she was eight years old The years had passed and this she grew older and was still a little boy at the time, but a little girl inside, the first tragedy in her life was: That her best friend Daniel whom she loved and admired, and who prophesied that Sharon would have a successful career as a singer died in a car accident. From past to present (Sharon) Dana keeps on remembering this fact with tears. At the age of thirteen she realised that she was not a little boy but a little girl, she wanted to live the rest of her life as a girl.When she was 18, Yaron (at the time)/Sharon started to earn her own money working as the country's first drag queen. She parodied many famous singers and women and performed very well in her preferred gender identity as a woman. During a show she was discovered by one of the most famous Israel DJs, Offer Nissim. Finally Sharon could make her dream a reality: singing as a woman. Dana's first hit was the song Saida Suldana (My Name Is Not Saida). It was a satirical cover of Whitney Houston's song "My Name Is Not Susan". It received a great deal of radio airplay. In 1993, Dana flew to London for sex reassignment surgery(also better known as gender reassignment surgery), returning as Sharon Cohen. That same year she released her first album, Dana International, in Israel, which was soon released in Greece and other Middle Eastern countries such as Egypt and Jordan. Her stage name came from the title track of this album. Dana International soon went gold in Israel. The title of the album also contained a song of hers which is well known "Danna International". (NOTE = the dubble "n" of Danna is the song's title) In 1994 she released her second album Umpatampa, which was even more successful and provided a few of her hits. This album went platinum in Israel and has sold more than 50,000 copies to date. Because of her popularity and the success of this album, she won Best Female Artist award in Israel.In 1995, Dana tried to fulfill her childhood dream of performing in the Eurovision song contest. She entered the Eurovision qualifying contest in Israel with a song "Layla tov eropa" (=Good Night Europe) and came in second. But she didn't give up and of course it was not the end of Eurovision for Dana. In late 1995, Dana released an EP called E. P. Tampa, with three new songs and four remixes and special versions of her earlier songs.In 1996, Dana released her third album. Although this album was less successful than her previous, it still reached gold record sales in Israel and included the hits Don Quixote, Waving and the club smash Cinquemilla. In 1997, Dana collaborated with the Israeli artist Eran Zur on the album entitled Another Sex, which became a huge hit.

In 1998 Dana was chosen to represent Israel in the Eurovision song contest with "Diva", a song written by Tzvika Pick. The Orthodox and religious people were opposed to her selection and tried to void her participation in Eurovision. However, in may 1998, Dana performed Diva at the Eurovision contest and took Europe by storm, winning the contest with 174 points.

She became a true international superstar, being interviewed by CNN, BBC, Sky News and MTV among others. Dana's own words "the message of reconciliation" which changed Israel's and the outlook of some religious people were; "My victory proves God is on my side. I want to send my critics a message of forgiveness and say to them: try to accept me and the kind of life I lead. I am what I am and this does not mean I don't believe in God and I am not really part of the Jewish Nation.". It's worth to read her declarations about 1998 : "I represent a liberal Israel, an Israel which accepts the human being no matter how you are, no matter how you look like and no matter what sex or race you are"... Dana released Diva as a single in Europe and it became a hit, reaching number 11 in the UK charts and the top ten in Sweden, Belgium, Finland, Ireland and the Netherlands, selling more than 400,000 copies worldwide.In 1999, Dana released Woman In Love, a Barbra Streisand cover, but it was not the hit that Diva had been. In May 1999, Dana International again participated in the Eurovision Song Contest held in Jerusalem. Dana was a part of the interval act and she sang the Stevie Wonder song Free. She also presented the winners award but embarrassed herself accidentally by falling over on the stage in front of a television audience estimate of 1 billion or more, whilst carrying the heavy trophy.
She released her international album Free in Europe in 1999, which did not enjoy any success. A few months later Dana moved back to Israel and started to work on different projects. Israeli and Japanese editions of Free were released in 2000. That same year, an Israeli documentary film was made about Dana called "Lady D". In 2001, after a break, Dana released her 7th album More and More. This album put Dana International back on track in Israel and provided two hits: I Won and After All, which eventually went gold in Israel.In 2002, she released another album, The Possible Dream, which did not do as well as expected. In 2003, she released a CD collection, containing all singles from The Possible Dream and also a new house version of Cinquemilla, titled A.lo.ra.lo.la. A few years later, in 2005, Dana participated in the 50th anniversary of the Eurovision song contest, held in Copenhagen, after "Diva" was selected as 1 of 14 songs considered to be the best Eurovision songs. The song did not make it into the final top five. She also recorded the song Lola (sung in French), to which she released a video. After a few years away from show business, together with the relaunch of her official website, a first single of the upcoming album was released in March 2007: Hakol ze letova (It's all for the best). The second single to be released from the album, Love Boy, became the most played song on Israeli radio in a decade.[1] The full album, also titled Hakol ze letova, was released on August 15, 2007. At muhana was the third single and Seret Hodi ("Indian Movie", feat. Idan Yaniv) the fourth to be released from the album, which became a bestseller in many online stores...
Why Dana International is artist of the week for this week? Because she's back at Eurovision!! Not as a singer but as a composer. On February 26, 2008 she gained an additional achievement when the song "Keilu Kan" written and composed by her and performed by Boaz Mauda, was chosen on Kdam Eurovision to represent Israel at Eurovision Song Contest 2008 in Belgrade, Serbia. GOOD LUCK "Keilu Kan"...


1. Dana International (1993)

2. Umpatampa (1994)

3. E.P.Tempa (1995)

4. Maganuna(=Crazy) (1996)

5. Diva - The Hits (1998)

6. Free (1999)

7. Free *Israeli edition* (2000)

8. Yoter ve yoter (=More and more) (2001)

9. Ha'chalom ha'efshari (=The possible dream) (2002)

10. The CDs collection (2003)

11. Hakol ze letova (=It's all for the best) (2007)

Watch some videos by the one and only DANA INTERNATIONAL....

Dana International...

Diva (Eurovision 1998)

Diva (Official video clip)

Diva (50 years of Eurovision show)

Diva (Live at the German National Final for Eurovision 2006)

Diva (Live in Spain 2001)

Diva (Final performance of the Eurovision 1998)

Parlez-vous fran├žais? (Live at the CONGRATULATIONS-50 years of Eurovision show)



Love boy

Hakol ze letova (Live + interview in hebrew at Yair Lapid show on 11/6/2007)

Dana International falling at Eurovision 1999!!!

Woman in love


Saida Sultana (with Offer Nissim in 1993)

Layla tov eropa (Israeli 1995 Eurovision Preselection)

Don Quixote (with english subtitles)

I can't without you (Live)

I won (Live)

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