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February 20, 2014 - Image 36

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2014-02-20

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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36

February 20 • 2014

French singing star offers concert for
women at Bais Cha bad event.

jazz singer whose career
launched in her teens with an
appearance on the French ver-
sion of Star Search relaunched that career
at 26 after Orthodox Judaism entered her
life.
Meleha, choosing a stage name taken
from her grandmother's given name, kept
much of the rhythm of jazz but vocalized
a devotion to God and Judaism as she
came to practice different dimensions of
her faith.
Performing original songs as she tours
from country to country, Meleha brings
her music only to female audiences and
will appear Wednesday evening, Feb. 26,
at "Cafe and Concert; the fifth annual
event planned by the Jewish Women's
Circle of West Bloomfield, a project of
the Tugman Bais Chabad Torah Center.
The program, open to all women in the
Detroit Jewish community, begins at 7
p.m. in the West Bloomfield Planterra
Conservatory.
Also performing will be Kety Gal,
Leah Phillips, Marissa Ruben, Lisette
Benjamin, and Julia and Shaina
Aharanov, all of West Bloomfield.
"The songs Meleha sings will soothe
the souls of women and will bring many
souls back to their source," says Deborah
Partouche, Meleha's manager, in a phone
conversation from Montreal, where
Meleha entertained another group of
women as part of an extended tour.
"If people are sitting down, she'll work
at getting them up and into the mood of
the music. She is accompanied by synthe-
sizer and works with one composer and
lyricist, Sydney El Ancry, who has been
her producer for 25 years. She will sing
covers occasionally when requested7
Meleha, whose real name is Patricia
Ouazan, has been singing since she was 3
years old, but she did not take any lessons
until she was into her 20s, after undergo-
ing throat surgery. She always felt, accord-
ing to her translator, that vocalizing came
naturally,
Before becoming Orthodox, she per-
formed on stages and TV and made
recordings, joining stars such as Gino
Vannelli, Michel Jonasz, Michel Fugain
and Sacha Distel.

A

Meleha and her husband, architect
David Lezmy, became interested in
Orthodox Judaism after attending a
Torah class conducted by a rabbi in Lyon,
France. They decided they wanted direc-
tion in communicating enduring values
to their five children, now between the
ages of 21 and 27.
"People said you absolutely have to
come listen to [this rabbi]; Meleha posts
on her website. "I arrived with my red
hair and black leather jacket and mini-
skirt and leather boots.
"I entered, and they looked at me
funny. I didn't understand why at the
beginning. The class was about modesty
and clothing laws.
"After that day, I stopped [dressing that
way]. I stopped singing for men. I under-
stood that the Torah was important, and I
dedicated my life and mission to sing only
for women. For 24 years, I have sung all
over the world7
Lezmy accompanies his wife on tour.
Keeping with their religious beliefs, they
travel only Sunday-Thursday and make
arrangements for kosher foods.
Meleha, 51, who has six grandchildren,
sings selections from her recordings. The
most recent is 0 Rebbe, a tribute to Rabbi
Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the late
leader of the Chabad Lubavitch movement.
The singer, now based in Paris, met
with him a number of times in Brooklyn,
N.Y., and he gave his blessings for her
work, she explains. Those meetings
serve as the basis for her considering this
album as the most meaningful to her
personally.
Earlier recordings include Yeladim
Sheli, Mazal, Ani Tefilati and Mon Els.
Although Meleha sings in many lan-
guages, she is not fluent in them.
"I have learned that regardless of
where the Jewish community is — New
York, Paris, Sydney — we're all one fam-
ily," Meleha says through her translator.
"We're all part of a chain belonging to
God7



Meleha will perform at 7 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 26, at the
West Bloomfield Planterra
Conservatory, 7315 Drake Road, in
West Bloomfield. $36-$54. (248)
865-1541; baischabad.com/jwc.

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