MEDINA, AVIHU (1948– ), lyricist and composer. Medina was born in Tel Aviv to Yemenite parents. His mother's family arrived in the country in 1906 and settled in Jerusalem; his father, who came from Yemen in 1939, was a ḥazzan. Avihu graduated from Kibbutz Kissufim High School. After his military service (1970), he began writing lyrics and composing their melodies. His first song, "Al Tira Yisrael," won the third prize in the first festival of Oriental communities' songs held under the auspices of Israel's state radio in 1971. For the next ten years he was to receive first prize in a number of festivals. Among the songs he wrote are "La-Ner ve-la-Besamim" ("For the Candle and the Perfumes"), "Kinnor David, Barekhenu" ("Bless Us"), "Peraḥ be-Ganni" ("Flower in My Garden"), "Al Tashlikheni" ("Don't Cast Me Away"), "Shabbeḥi Yerushalayim" ("Praise Thee Jerusalem"), "Bein ha-Tov la-Ra" ("Between Good and Evil"). His songs were performed by some of Israel's best artists, such as Shimi Tavori, Zohar *Argov, Boaz Sharabi, Ofra *Haza, Eyal Golan, Deklon, and many others.
In 1991 Avihu began singing his own songs. In 1994 Omanut La-'am awarded him the "Silver Cylinder," which is the crowning prize for the most popular artist. In 1995 he received the Writers and Composers Prize for lifetime achievements in the field of light music. Avihu Medina has released nine albums – the ninth, Ein Li Mano'aḥ, in 2004 – and a book of songs, Simanim shel Derekh.
Medina, a leading figure in the period of Ethnicity, devoted much of his time to the promotion of "Mediterranean Israeli music." He believes that "it is a style born of traditional and cultural Jewish roots and of the Israeli experience in all its forms."
He is the chairman of the Israeli song department on the Committee for Art and Culture.
[Nathan Shahar (2nd ed.)]