Hezkia Eliezer Arochas, of blessed memory, better known as Kiki, was born in Cairo, Egypt on December 20, 1924, the second of six boys. His father, Eliezer Hezkia Arochas was from Izmir, Turkey; and his mother, Esther Cohen, was a sabra from Yerushalayim.
From his youth, Kiki displayed a strong talent and love for hazanut, a constant which remained with him during his long and productive life in America. He put his singing talent to task early on in his life. At the tender age of six, he led his entire school every morning in Shaharit prayers. He was also the head of the choir in the great Ashkenazic shul of Cairo. He enjoyed all types of music in many languages, and his repertoire spanned from operatic arias to Arabic ballads.
However, hazanut held a very special place in his heart. He enjoyed praying more than any other type of singing — and he was appreciated. The congregation would sit in awe at the beauty and clarity of his prayers. He composed a unique liturgy, intermingling Ladino and Arabic tunes. Grown men, touched by his Tehillim recitals, were moved to tears while listening to his voice.
Along with the beautiful voice was a beautiful heart. Whether it was a wedding, Bar Mitzvah, funeral or even an immigration problem, Kiki was always there to help. At one time or another, everyone in his congregation was affected by his kindness, and indeed his love for his fellow human beings is sorely missed.
Hezkia Eliezer ben Esther left this world on the 29th of Shevat, Feb 22nd, 2001. He is dearly remembered by his loving wife of 53 years, Rosette, his three daughters, Mireille, Esther and Sophie, all his grand and great-grandchildren, and myself, his son Eliezer.
We wish to thank Rabbi Ely Allen and Mr. Raphael Benaroya for their dedication and extreme effort to make this endeavor possible. May Hashem grant them all their wishes and bless them.
May these recordings keep his holy memory alive and may his beautiful voice always be among us.
Elie 'Loulou' Arochas
Click Below to Download Songs
With Thanks to Hashem
There are many people who deserve thanks for their involvement in this project. Mr. Raphael Benaroya, Brad Orloff and his staff at United Retail, Dan Aron at No Soap and Phil Bulla of A1 Platinum Productions for his outstanding work on the audio mastering. Mr. Albert Allen, Elie 'Loulou' Arochas, Michael Allen, Alfred Efremoff, Cantor Moshe Tessone and Rebecca Allen for their tireless editing and consultation. May Hashem bless them for their effort and dedication.
It is always difficult to create compilations of this nature. Kiki, of blessed memory, left few direct recordings. Although much time was spent trying to determine the best of what was available, some of the tracks are cut off or of inferior quality due to the condition of the original copies. It is our belief that the Kiki's ability rises above these inadequacies, and we hope that you enjoy the recording despite them.
We are always searching for other recordings of Kiki and hope, with G-d's help, to produce future albums and perhaps even a video. If you have anything you would like to contribute please contact Rabbi Ely Allen at ElyAllen@aol.com. Thank you for your support.
May Hashem grant Hezkiah Eliezer ben Esther an aliat haneshama and may his memory be remembered for a blessing.