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VALLEY WEEKEND | BEST BETS

November 14, 1996

TODAY: Chanteuse

French singer Mireille Mathieu has been performing around the world for 30 years . . . and somehow has never appeared in Los Angeles. Her concert tonight at the Universal Amphitheatre marks her Los Angeles debut.

Often called the second Edith Piaf, Mathieu, 50, drew comparison to Piaf not only because of her voice, but also her slight stature.

Like Piaf, she came from a poor family. She was the eldest of 14 children and at age 14 went to work in a factory. She burst upon the French national consciousness when she sang a Piaf song as a contestant on French TV at age 19.

She scored her first hit in France in 1965 with "Mon Credo." Other hits followed, including "C'Est Ton Nom," "Qu'Elle Est Belle" and "Funambule."

Mathieu is a Marianne of France, the female symbol of the French Republic, an honor she shares with only two other women, Brigitte Bardot and Catherine Deneuve. She has performed all around the world, including engagements in New York, London, Moscow and China.

Mathieu's latest CD, "Vous Lui Direz," was released last year on the 30th anniversary of her French television debut.

* Mireille Mathieu performs at 8:15 tonight at Universal Amphitheatre, 100 Universal City Plaza. Tickets are $28-$103. Call (310) 659-2239.

*

WEEKEND: What Would You Say?

The Dave Matthews Band comes to the Universal Amphitheatre on Friday and Saturday.

The Charlottesville, Va.-based band self-released a CD, "Remember Two Things," in 1993 and created enough of a stir to get signed by RCA.

The band's debut RCA album, "Under the Table and Dreaming," sold more than 3 million copies and received two Grammy nominations for its single "What Would You Say."

Their sound--parts jazz, folk and rock--is distinguished by Boyd Tinsley's violin, LeRoi Moore's sax and Matthew's percussive acoustic-guitar playing. Bassist Stefan Lessard and drummer Carter Beauford round out the group.

The band released its follow-up album, "Crash," in May to less-than-enthusiastic reviews. The album, however, reached No. 2 on the national Soundscan chart in its first week of release.

* The Dave Matthews Band performs at 8:15 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Universal Amphitheatre, Universal City. Tickets are $28. Call (213) 480-3232.

*

TUESDAY: Jewish Soul

Chicago's Maxwell Street Klezmer Band makes its Los Angeles debut this weekend at the University of Judaism. As of this writing, only tickets to Tuesday's concert are still available.

The group's big band sound offers its own unique brand of Jewish soul music. Their repertoire traces the Jewish immigrant experience through the various musical genres of wandering klezmorim bands: Hasidic melodies, Jewish wedding dances, Russian drinking songs, Romanian horas, Hungarian czardas, Polish mazurkas, Gypsy rhapsodies and New York Yiddish theater songs.

The group is named for Chicago's open-air marketplace, which was crowded with Russian Jewish immigrants at the turn of the century. In addition to performing over 250 dates per year, the band founded the Klezmer Music Foundation to stimulate the revival of Yiddish music.

* Maxwell Street Klezmer Band at 8 p.m. Tuesday in the Gindi Auditorium, University of Judaism, 15600 Mulholland Drive. Tickets are $25-$20. Call (310) 476-9777, Ext. 201.

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