Legendary Israeli singer-songwriter Svika Pick has died at the age of 72

Pop singer Svika Pick, considered one of Israel’s musical treasures, died at home on Sunday. He was 72.

His funeral was scheduled to take place at Ramat Hasharon Cemetery at 10am on Monday.

Pick came of age as a singer in the 1970s when he had a leading role in the Hebrew version of the musical Hair and became a household name on the Israeli music scene.

Prime Minister Yair Lapid mourned the death of the singer-songwriter, noting that Pick sang the words: “‘Music penetrates the heart’ – a phrase that describes most of his songs and melodies that penetrated the heart and Israeli culture… Svika was a Revolutionary artist of his generation, a pillar of Israeli pop. Svika passed away today, but the songs and music he left behind will be played for many years to come.”

The lyrics Lapid quotes are from the song “Mala, Mala” (“Up, Up”) on Pick’s seminal 1978 album Music.

Born in Wroclaw, Poland, musician Henryk Pick immigrated to Israel with his family as a child. Born into a musical family with a grandfather who ran a music school and an uncle who was a music professor, Pick began studying classical music at the age of five. He continued his music studies in Israel, studying at the Ramat Gan Music Center and performing in local rock bands as a teenager.

He released nine albums during the 1970s and worked closely with his first wife, Mirit Shem-Or, who wrote many of Pick’s hits, including Mary Lou, which was about her, and songs on the albums This Is My Way”, “What Now” and “Kaleidoscope”.

The music scene was not easy for Pick in the 1980s, a difficult professional time performing to small audiences and carrying and handling his own gear at concerts without the means to hire a crew.

Pick transitioned to writing songs for other singers in the 1980s and 1990s, penning some of the era’s most iconic pieces of music, such as the children’s song “The Soap Cried So Much.” His official Instagram account is called “Svika Pick, Maestro”.

Pick wrote the song “Diva” with lyricist Yoav Ginai, performed by Dana International, which won the 1998 Eurovision Song Contest.

Pick continued to write songs for several other Eurovision Song Contest contestants, reuniting with Ginai to write “Light a Candle” for Sarit Hadad, who represented Israel in the 2002 Eurovision Song Contest, and writing a song for Israel’s 2010 nominee , Harel Skaat, and for Georgia’s candidate .

Pick and Shem-Or continued working together after their divorce in 2003. Daniella Pick, one of her three children, is married to American filmmaker Quentin Tarantino and together they live part of the year in Tel Aviv.

Pick has been in a relationship with Israeli fashion designer Shira Manor since 2004 and they have two sons, Tim and Neal.

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