Born in Italy and raised in Israel, Esti Kenan-Ofri is a composer and a performer of music and dance. Her work is inspired by the diverse traditions of song and dance in Israel and particularly by the Sephardi-Jewish heritage.
She has performed music written and arranged especially for her by many composers including Luciano Berio, Andrei Hajdu, Betty Olivero, Noam Sherif, Oded Zehavi, Piris Eliyahu, Netta Aloni, Mark Kopitman and Israel Borochov.
She performed the leading role in Luciano Berio’s “Ofanim” with numerous orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic under Claudio Abado. In Bologna, she sang the leading role in Fabio Vacchi’s opera “Il Viaggio”.
Her CD “Juego de Siempre” (“The Game of Forever”) is a collection of Judeo-Spanish songs arranged especially for her by the Israeli composers Betty Olivero and Oded Zehavi and produced together with the Museum of Jewish Diasora. A further CD “Spirit of the East” includes some of Piris Eliyahu compositions. Together with the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra under Zubin Mehta and Placido Domingo she sang “A Sephardic Passion” a work by Noam Sheriff, the best-known contemporary Israeli composer.
In 1994 she founded the duo “Kol Tof”, together with the drummer and percussionist Oren Fried. They since have been guests at several festivals throughout Europe, e.g. the festivities of the 50. anniversary of the UNESCO in Paris.
With the addition of the Moroccan Oud player Armond Sabach some years ago, the duo became the trio “Kol Oud Tof”, which is dedicated to the interpretation of musical traditionals of the northern African Jews – particularly the Moroccan -, whose music is based upon Sephardic songs and enriched by texts, instruments and stylistic elements of the Arabic culture.
At present Esti Kenan Ofri works with the Arabo-Andalucian orchestra of Tangier, with Kol Oud Tof trio and with keyboard player Slava Ganelin.