Pardon the absence, but Carter was working away at the A-Z Challenge, and I'm trying to write a dissertation. Which is more painful? Who knows. (Actually Carter has done both, so he could tell you.)
|Ofra Haza - Level 15 Cleric|
If there be no mercy left in the world,
The doors of heaven will never be barred.
The Creator reigns supreme, and is higher
than the angels
All, in His spirit, will rise
By His nearness, His life-giving breath
flows through them.
And they glory in His name
From the moment of genesis,
His creations grow,
Captivating and more beautiful.
The wheel in his circle thunders
Acclaiming His Holy name
Clothed in the glory of His radiance,
The six-winged cherubs surround Him,
Whirling in His honor
And with their free wings sweetly sing,
Together, in unison
Well maybe she's a Bard, some of you are saying. No. She's a cleric. She went through compulsory military training in the Israeli Defense Force in 1979. So she'd be in there kicking ass, gouging eyes out with krav maga and all that stuff. And since she sings rather than playing a lute, she's got both hands free for a mace and holy symbol! Look out fools!
Plus, she's not a generic default Christian crusader-type cleric that many people envision (see comments to Matt Finch's post). Here we have a more dance-oriented arrangement from Yemenite Songs (1984) where she's got an awesome dungeoneering head-dress just perfect for scaring the shit out of undead and dishing out holy wrath. The iteration that has been sampled and remixed most heavily up until today is this one from 1988, which definitely has that late 80s VH1 'world music' studio production value to it:
But it shows three important things: 1) Ofra Haza can ride a horse, which is a good adventuring skill; 2) she's got a boss cleric's outfit with gold scale mail and nary a cross in sight; and 3) Holy Chant or Prayer are more powerful when you add reverb. I'd like to see a MU/Illusionist spell like Audible Glamer but that mimicked effects like reverb, echo, distortion, phaser, etc.
It's interesting that by this time the song was stripped down lyrically to the point where it's mostly a repetition of El Chai. Outside of all the production trappings, the thing that appeals to people (including DJs) about this song for the last 20 years is a woman holy-chanting "The Living God" over and over again. How many millions of people have danced while drunk or high to her invoking a name of the Hebrew God in clubs all over the world, while getting +1 on attacks, damage and saving throws, and their enemies also got -1 penalties? How would the Discotheque Wars have gone without her? We will never know.
So, here we end an Old School tribute to the late Ofra Haza (d. 2000). How Old School is she, REALLY?, I hear a few of you rotten bastards say. She covered Kashmir, okay? That's how Old School she is. You've covered LedZep in your campaign (your 'storied' Battle of Meverore, or whatever crappy anagram you came up with) so don't try to get coy. Show some respect.
Sincere thanks to the incomparable Ofra Haza for leaving something beautiful in this horrid world for me.