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Ishtar (born Eti Zach; November 10th, 1968) is an Arabic pop singer. She is best known for her work as the front vocalist of the French-based band Alabina and her solo pop hits such as C'est La Vie, Last Kiss and Habibi (Sawah).

Early life

Eti Zach was born November 10, 1968 in Qiryat Atta, near Haïfa. She was born to an Egyptian mother and a Moroccan father (with Sephardic heritage) though she was raised in Israel.

She speaks and sings in Arabic, Hebrew, French, Spanish, and English; in addition, she says she "half-speaks Moroccan".

Ishtar began performing in clubs at age 15 and continued even while enrolled in the Israeli army, where she served as one of the first female fighter pilots. Though she was born Eti Zach, she chose the name 'Ishtar', a Mesopotamian Goddess, because her grandmother called her Ester, which "with her Egyptian accent it sounded like Ishtar", she said.

It was around this time a friend asked her to join them in France. She soon fell in love with the country and decided to make it her home.

Alabina years

Main article: Alabina

Once she moved to France, Ishtar began working as a back up vocalist for several flamenco type acts. It was here she was discovered by Charles Ibgui, who enamored with her voice, introduced her to Los Niños de Sara. She joined the group as a lead vocalist and together they performed under the name Alabina.

Alabina soon became a world wide success charting in the top 10 and top 40 several times in the US alone.

Alabina had found success mixing Flamenco, Arabic, Pop, and Dance sounds. Los Niños de Sara usually sang in Spanish while Ishtar would sing in Spanish, Arabic, French, Hebrew, or a mix of the languages — several songs were sung in Spanish and Arabic.

Solo career

Despite Alabina's success after two albums Ishtar decided to do a solo project of her own (though still a member of the group); Los Niños de Sara also began to release CDs of their own.

In November, 2000 La Voix d'Alabina (The Voice of Alabina) was released. It stepped up the Oriental pop sound while mixing in some traditional Arabic sounds and dance beats. Nine out of the twelve songs were mainly in French though Arabic, Spanish, English, and Hebrew were mixed in on various songs (for example Last Kiss was in English). Several of the tracks found dance floor success, including Last Kiss.

Ishtar continued to tour the world with Alabina for the next few years as she worked on her second album. Her sophomore album Truley Emet was released in August, 2003 this time with most of the songs being in Hebrew. However she decided to sing more songs in mixes of Arabic and Hebrew to show that there could be harmony between the two cultures. Truley Emet was again a dance floor success especially the songs C'est La Vie, and again Last Kiss.

A few more performances were done with Alabina, though as of 2005, the group had seemed to disband by no longer activly performing or releasing new music.

Ishtar's third album, Je Sais d'où Je Viens (I know from where I come) was released in November, 2005. This time the music was still Oriental pop, however much less dance. More hip hop-type beats were stirred in with the Arabic music. Most of the songs were sung in Arabic, four were sung in French, and a few in English, while Spanish and Hebrew could be found throughout the album. Again she found dance success with such singles as Habibi (Sawah), which for the first time in her career featured a rapper JMI Sissoko.

Shortly after a greatest hits CD, The Alabina Years, was released, featuring a mix of Ishtar's solo hits, her Alabina hits, and some new English tracks as well.

Ishtar currently lives in France and is working on promoting her album.

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