leslie zak 

folk singer, arts educator


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Leslie with students in
Gosfield, England, May 2004.

Leslie Zak is a Columbus Arts Council Artist-in-Schools, and a member of the national Children’s Music Network. Her art combines theatre, music, and movement in concert performance, conference keynotes and workshops, and residencies in schools, camps, and special programs.

Leslie’s childhood home in Los Angeles hosted a changing international cast which over the years included folk greats and scores of classical musicians, writers, dancers, actors, and artists.

Leslie’s own performances began at age 8. She has performed in theatre, television, radio, and concerts . She sings in 16 languages, and says that if she has a mission it is to “get people singing together”.

She was honored to be selected as a "Living the Dream Artist of the Year" by the City of Columbus, along with storytellers Bobby Norfolk and Baba Jubal Harris, as an artist who best exemplifies commitment to multi-cultural awareness and appreciation.

Her first album's title, Walk Dance Talk Sing, comes from the West African proverb "If you can walk, you can dance, If you can talk, you can sing", and she adds that if you can't do any of those things you can still do whatever you can - and probably more. And she believes that by experiencing and sharing the creative process we can move mountains.

Leslie's current CD’s, Walk, Dance, Talk, Sing and If an Ostrich Can Yodel ... created for family audiences, are now playing on more than 60 stations nationwide.

Drama Raves

“She is a breath of fresh air. She calmed our kids and gave them hope for the future.”
  — Riverview School for Boys Correctional Institution

“Leslie Zak’s work in drama ( and music ) is creative and exciting. She is open and respectful of people of all ages and cultures, and I am an admirer.” 
  — Dr. Brian Edmiston, OSU Dept. of Education, School of teaching & Learning

“(Her) dedication to the students’ welfare and growth is obvious.”
  — Rick O’Hara, Headmaster, Wellington School

“You taught me everything I know! I just directed my first play and it was a smash!  
Thank you, thank you.”
  — Heidi Sunderhaft, Muskingham Community College, WI

“Many thanks for all you have done for us and the Jonathan Alder district. We now have Jonathan's story in play form and hope to use it for many years to come. The teachers want to perform it each year for our young children in Ohio history. The last day of school we always have a slide show and when the pictures of you and the students appeared on the screen, there were a lot of cheers. Thanks again!!”
  — Harriet Merriman, Vice-Principal Jonathan Alder Middle School, Plain City, OH

Music Raves

“A truly multicultural artist - Leslie sings in many languages, but always in the language and spirit of the soul of children.”
  — Mimi Chenfeld, Author-Educator, Columbus, OH

“I’ve been using your album with my classes - and we’re really excited to have you being here in person.”
  — Amy Polovick, Duxberry Park Arts Impact School

“Leslie totally involved 200 pre-school and kindergarten kids in her performance. The music has generated a wealth of creative activities for our kids. They were thrilled to be with her in concert last spring. And we had so many requests from other rec centers that we had to invite them to share the experience. ”
  — Becky Rogers, Columbus Recreation & Parks

“Terrific! Her performance is beautiful - so warm and loving and strong at the same time.”
  — Marcia Berman

“Leslie disappears into the music. She tells every story and sings every song as if it were a face-to-face conversation.”
  — “Uncle Ruthie” Buell KPFK-FM, Los Angeles

“It’s an unusual pleasure to find something so conscious and aware for my kids. My 2 year-old can’t stop dancing to it, and his 9-year-old brother, who is into hard rock, thinks singing in Japanese is cool!’
  — Susan S., Ohio