Music & Words | Ghalia Benali

Ghalia Benali
Ghalia grew up in an artistic family in the south of Tunisia. From her childhood on she was impregnated with different kinds of music and poetry: French chansons, Egyptian and Indian musicals, melodies from Syria and Iraq, the ‘tartil’ and the poetry from Om Kalthoum.
She sings with an incredible expression and a strong sensuality with a voice that gets under your skin. She is also a dancer, actress and artist in plastic arts.
Ghalia is born in Brussels in 1968. At the age of 3 she moved, together with her family, again to Tunisia, where she grew up. After finishing her education in
Tunis, she returned to Brussel, Belgiums in 1988 to study ‘graphics’ in Saint Lucas.
She decided to remain in Belgium and started singing. By singing she also met other rich cultures. While touring in Portugal and Spain she discovered e.g.
flamenco. Ghalia played with Yoda (didgeridoo, djembé, clarinet,…), Al Palna (Arabo-Indian), Timnaa (Arabo-Spanish), Maak’s Spirit (Arabo-jazz) and Hh Kaly (DJ and Arabo-Indian songs). In 2000 she recorded her first album ‘Wild Harissa’ with the group Timnaa for the label ‘Network’. In 2001 she created the project Kafichanta, a project dealing with the Arab cabaret from the twenties until today.
She is touring with the program ‘Romeo & Leila’. In 2006 she released an album and a book with the same name. ‘Romeo & Leila’ was very well received in
Europe as well as in the Arab world. In the winter of 2007 she recorded by request of the Belgian National Radio ‘Klara’ the cd ‘Al Palna’ (Zimbraz MWCD 3033) with the Flemish sitar player Bert Cornelis. In this project Arab music is meeting Indian classical music. In 2008 Ghalia received the ‘World of Music Award’. This award for the best world music song she received from the British independent organisation ‘We Are Listening’. In 2009 she started her project ‘Ghalia Benali meets Om Khaltoum’.
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