Shuly Nathan - Biography
Shuly Nathan was born to a long family chain of artists and musicians. Her maternal side originating to the 15th century exiled Jews of Portugal, took the them to Holland and later on to Hamburg, Germany, where Shuly's grandfather, Avraham Nathan, performed as the Hamburg opera's lead tenor, between the two world wars, where he found his death during the holocaust. His wife - Shuly' s grandmother – Nelly Nathan, who was an acclaimed newspaper portraits illustrator and a pianist fled to London with their daughter Eve. Eve, Shuly's mother who was an illustrator as well and a potter, married Joshua Bauernfreund, an artist from Slovakia in London, where Shuly was born. Being Zionist, The young family immigrated to the new growing state of Israel.
In Israel both Shuly's parents continiued their careers as artists, while Shuly took on playing the guitar and singing, at the age of 16, influenced mainly by the folk music movement in the world. During her service in the Israeli army, as a teacher to illiterate women in south Israel, Shuly continued to deepen her interest and her talent in folk music, landing her performances in several amateur radio programs.
Shuly's fame came overnight, when songwriter and composer Naomi Shemer had listened to one of those radio programs she knew that Shuly's voice was the one to sing her new song about Jerusalem, committed by then Mayor Teddy Kollek. Shemer demanded that Shuly sings at the Israeli annual Independence-day song contest held in Jerusalem. It was to be sung during the intermission as an out of contest song, to entertain the audience. The song was so well received, it cast a shadow over the whole contest, and Shuly was asked to sing it again while the whole audience stood and sang with her. The song's name was "Jerusalem of gold". Two weeks later the 6 day war (1967) broke out and the song became the hymn and prayer of that war, especially the yearning for Jerusalem to be freed and reunited. "Jerusalem of gold" being so beloved became an “unofficial hymn” of Israel, only second to the “ Ha Tikva”.
At that time Shuly was still serving in the army, and was singing for the troops. After the 6 Day War was over "Jerusalem of Gold" was the best selling record of all time, being heard at every Jewish household. The song was translated to 40 languages and sung all over the world.
That started a new chapter in Shuly Nathan's life, bringing her fame and a prolific career both in Israel and beyond. True to her self Shuly's repertoire includes traditional and contemporary Hebrew songs of many Jewish communities as well as in Yiddish, Hassidic, and Ladino songs. During her many travels, Shuly has collected and added many folk-songs to her repertoire from around the world. In addition to her performing, Shuly recorded and released many records and CD's.
After taking some time off to raise her 5 children, she returned to her singing, recording and performing. She tours the USA, Canada and Europe annually and performed in Japan, Australia, Central America and New Zeland. Besides she conducts her performances in Hebrew, English, French, and Spanish.
As a beloved national singer, Shuly Nathan is known to have a warm loving contact with her audiences, having people join her singing and enjoy her wonderful story telling about the songs and their bond to the rising of a new nation of Israel.
Shuly's curiosity, love for art and traveling carries her to new audiences and music. Music that is incorporated in her ever growing repertoire of both songs and stories.