Sophie Leleu

Facets FR

From Woman to Woman

The new album
Sophie Leleu • Duo Racines • Antoine Morineau
On november 6th 



During my first concerts, when I played my own compositions, the public often questioned me about the origins of the music and what inspired me. Many asked whether these were Sephardic melodies. At the time, I had never heard of Sephardic music. I was only twenty years old and yet I had a strong affinity for oriental rhythms and melismatic vocals, with my harp naturally taking me on these composition paths.
About ten years ago, to our family’s surprise, a distant cousin of my mother, passionate about genealogy, uncovered our Sephardic origins. Following this discovery, I started my research at the Center for Jewish Music in Paris. There, I came across melodies that strongly resonated within me, as if I had always known them.
Until then I was used to improvising around a melody, experimenting with vocal sounds. But I found myself continuously searching for words to adequately express the meaning of these melodies which inhabited me. Ladino finally emerged; a mix of ancient Spanish and Hebrew it was the language used by the Sephardic Jews.
I decided to dedicate an entire program to this art, to restore the link of oral transmission that I did not have, from mother to daughter; to share the memory deeply embodied in my flesh and the song of my soul. Memories I have carried for so long have finally given birth to this album: ‘From women to women’.



When in 1492, catholic kings expelled Spanish Jews, a culture over 2000 years old spread around the Mediterranean. Wherever they went, Sephardic Jews brought with them their cultural heritage as well as their language, commonly called the Ladino. Traditionally, Sephardic music is a women’s repertoire. It was through women, from mothers to daughters, that these songs were transmitted orally down the centuries.
The lyrics speak about their lives, their daily chores, explore themes such as love, spirituality and share intimate suffering, hopes and longings. They celebrate life through words of wisdom shared with future generations. I chose to adapt a few of the original compositions for the harp, adding the reading of poems and one of my own compositions: L’Envol d’Arzach.

Le Duo Racines


With its unique instrumental combination, Le Duo Racines is very promising : blending the celtic harp, played by Sophie Leleu to accompany her deep and powerful voice together with digitalised oriental rhythms from the dexterous and fine percussionist Antoine Morineau.Following Sophie’s discovery of her Sephardic origins, she decided to dedicate an entire music program to this music genre, combining traditional lyrics with her own compositions and exploring the subject of women. During their exodus, the Sephardic Jews brought their traditions and culture with them, blending their music to the local notes and rhythms of their host countries. Sophie draws on the talents of Antoine Morineau to jointly explore the warmth of these traditional songs, bringing together writing, improvisation, trance, readings, complemented with the harp and coloured with the timbres of the zarb, tombak, dohola, daf, req and udu… coming from Turkey, Iran, the Middle East). Le Duo Racines is often invited to play in various festivals and concerts, usually in unique cultural and heritage buildings, as well as in religious circles, reflecting the depth and spirituality of the music.