End Of A Creative Era: Israel’s Biggest Musical Duo In Shock Split
“Tudo Bom” singers Static and Ben-El were the first to fuse Mizrahi and pop rap
Static and Ben-El, the musical duo who revolutionized Mizrahi music in Israel over the last seven years, have split.
Their artistic collaboration introduced new elements of pop, rap, and international influences into a genre formerly regarded by many as flat and formulaic.
The combination of Ben-El Tavori’s ethnic Mizrahi vocals, and Static’s rap and pop verses introduced fans of each genre to the other.
Every song they released was an instant chart-topper, accompanied by music videos that received tens of millions of views, from their very first single “Barbie” which amassed 48 million views on YouTube. They were able to fuse their completely different music styles for hit after hit.
Popular songs include “Silsulim” (58 million views on YouTube), “Zahav” (59 million views), and “Tudo Bom” (73 million views). Their songs have over 800 million views on YouTube, and over 96 million listens on Spotify. They have performed numerous concerts in Israel and abroad.
Liraz Russo, 32, known by his stage name “Static” (a nickname first given to him by a childhood friend), and Ben-El Tavori, 31, announced the split in a joint Instagram post today (Thursday).
“The decision was not easy but it was also not new,” they wrote in the Hebrew post. “We feel that we have reached a musical fulfillment of the project and each of us wants to explore ourselves and bring you all new music that breaks boundaries, just like we did seven years ago.”
Several songs of theirs incorporated international styles of music rarely used in Israeli hits, such as Tudo Bom, which is based on Funk carioca, or Brazilian funk, a hip hop-influenced style from Rio de Janeiro that originated in the late 1970s.
Ben-El was brought up with Mizrahi music, a style unique to Israel, which combines elements of Arabic, Turkish and Greek music, and is mostly performed by Israelis of Mizrahi-Jewish descent (from the Middle East and North Africa). Mizrahi vocalists usually decorate their singing with distinctive trills. His father, Shimi Tavori, is a famous Mizrahi singer.
Within five hours of announcing their split, the Instagram post already had over 32,000 likes. On Instagram alone, over 160,000 people reacted to the sudden announcement, and it was covered by every major daily publication in Israel.
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Static and Ben-El started their collaboration with a rapper’s single in 2015. In June 2017, they released their biggest hit “Tudo Bom”, which means “everything’s good” in Portuguese. It drew significant attention from Brazil – so much so that the pair were invited to visit the Brazilian Ambassador to Israel at his embassy.
After years of success in Israel, the duo signed a 10-year deal with Capitol Records in 2018 to produce seven international albums in English. They began re-releasing their songs in English, but they didn’t prove to be as successful as the original Hebrew versions.
In 2020, Static and Ben-El released several original English songs with recognized international artists, including the song “Further Up” with Pitbull and “Shake Ya Boom Boom” with the Black Eyed Peas, all of which experienced only moderate success.
The pair seemed inseparable for years, serving together as a single judge on the panels of musical reality TV shows “Hakochav Haba” (Rising Star) and “Masked Singer”. They were also involved in numerous marketing campaigns, including Strauss’ Milky pudding – for which they wrote two songs – and the Israeli fashion companies Urbanica and Castro.
They also created an official song for the Tel Aviv Pride Week in 2020, “Habib Alby“. The song has Hebrew, English, and Arabic phrases, including the song’s name, which means “love of my heart” in Arabic.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, they wrote a charity single called “Katan Aleinu“, which is literally translated as “this is small for us”, a popular Israeli phrase that more accurately means “we got this”. Every share of the video was matched with donations to Israeli hospitals and medical staff.
At their final concert together, last night in Eilat, two girls, aged 10 and 15, were lightly injured when a stand holding large concert speakers collapsed.
The split followed Ben-El’s high-profile custody battle with his ex Ortal Amar, and a leaked recording of him screaming at her.
The future of Static and Ben-El’s $5 million record deal remains unclear.