Hanna Drezner-Tzakh (Hebrew: חנה דרזנר; born September 17, 1947), better known by her stage name Ilanit, is a female Israeli singer becoming one of the most popular singers in Israel during the late 60s to the 80s. Ilanit is also known from the duo Ilan & Ilanit. Ilanit also represented Israel twice in the Eurovision Song Contest. In a career spanning over 4 decades, Ilanit recorded and produced over 600 songs and more than 30 best-selling albums.
Life and career:
Early Life and "Ilan & Ilanit":
In 1947, Ilanit was born in Tel Aviv after her parents migrated from Poland. In 1953, at the age of 5, Ilanit and her family moved to Brazil where they joined a number of South American acts. In 1960, at the age of 13, Ilanit moved back to Israel. In 1962 Ilanit was discovered in a young talent contest organized by WIZO and the magazine Ma'ariv Youth.
Shlomo Zach, an Israeli singer whom she later married, formed a trio that was later known as "גידי, צח וחנה" (Gidi, Zach, and Hanna). The trio broke down into a duo, consequently renamed "Ilan & Ilanit". In 1966 the duo's first album was produced, simply named "Ilan Ilan". Two of their songs, "כל אדם כוכב" (A start for everyone) and "ואי סניורינה" became big hits and topping the music charts. The Duo became a big success during the 60s in Israel and abroad. It is during that time that her stage name Ilanit was established.
1970s and a solo career:
In 1968 Ilanit released her first solo song, "כבר אחרי חצות" (It's after midnight). The record came with the song "Let's go crazy sands" by Ilan & Ilanit. Her first solo performance took place in the 1969 song festival where she sung "שיר בארבעה בתים". While she did not win the competition, the song itself became a big success.
In 1973, she first took part in Luxembourg where she reached the fourth position with the song "Ey Sham" ("Somewhere"). This was also the first ever participation of Israel in the Song Contest. The song was composed by Nurit Hirsh, who also conducted the orchestra in Luxembourg on that occasion. It was only the second time that the orchestra was conducted by a woman; the first time was on that very evening (Monica Dominique, "You're Summer", Sweden).
The second participation by Ilanit was in London in 1977 with a song entitled "Ahava Hi Shir Lishnayim" ("Love is a song for two"). With this song she came eleventh. Ilanit almost took part for a third time in 1984: she was appointed by IBA to sing the song "Balalaika". The 1984 Eurovision Song Contest coincided with an Israeli memorial day wherefore the IBA withdrew their entry. At that time Ilanit was already one of Israel's most popular singers and the song "Balalaika" became an instant hit, despite not taking part.
Ilanit was named Israel's top female singer every year from 1971 to 1977, something no other singer has achieved.
In 1974 Ilanit represented Israel at the World Popular Song Festival In Tokyo '74 with the song "Shiru Shir Lashemesh" ("Sing A Song To The Sun"). The final was held on November 17 and she came ninth.
1990s and 2000s:
Ilanit continued to experience major successes in her home country, with songs from lyricist Ehud Manor and others. Together with other established Israeli artists she took part in a tour through North America in 2005. After "Brazilian Dream", released in 1996, she didn't record a new album for 12 years. In 2008, she emerged from a long hiatus, releasing the album "Israelit". Since then she has continued to perform occasionally at special events, for example, the Hadassah centennial in October, 2012.