We got shivers.
This song can make a person cry at the best of times, but wow.
Hijabi singer Mennel Ibtissam, whose parents are Syrian-Turkish and Moroccan-Algerian, gave a performance of Leonard Cohen’s moving song Hallelujah on The Voice France. She sang the first verse in English before moving to Arabic, and her voice is gorgeous.
It’s an incredibly moving performance, which really you need to see for yourself:
All four judges on the show turned their chairs to indicate they liked Ibtissam and wanted to work with her. It’s not surprising – her cover was very touching.
Cohen first released the song in 1984, but it didn’t become a worldwide hit until both John Cale and Jeff Buckley covered it in the early 1990s. Since Cohen’s death in 2016, it’s received more interest again.
Ibtissam replaced the refrain with ‘Ya Ilahi,’ meaning ‘My God,’ when she sang in Arabic.
France was the first country in Europe to ban the burqa, in 2011, and Ibtissam’s visibility as a Muslim woman meant that she faced criticism in French media. Tweets from a now-deleted account belonging to the singer were critical of French foreign policy, The National reports.
Ibtissam responded in a post to her Facebook page.
“I advocate a message of love, peace and tolerance, proof is my choice to sing Hallelujah from Leonard Cohen,” the 22-year-old wrote. “This song perfectly illustrates the message I wish to make as an artist.”
We think she’s in a great position to do just that.
Images: Mennel Ibtissem/Facebook