Ghalia Benali showcased her Egyptian repertoire at a recent performance in Cairo. The Belgium-born singer was raised in Tunisia and brought up on music from all over the world. Benali’s sensuous voice conveyed the poetry of Um Kalthoum and other melodies to her audience at the Cairo Jazz Club. She was born in Brussels in 1968, and moved with her family at the age of three to Zarzis, a small port city in southern Tunisia. Benali grew up in a world influenced by both ancestral traditions and the West, as her city had just begun to open its doors to tourists. Benali names the Quran and Um Khalthoum as two of her biggest musical influences. She developed a passion for music and singing as a child, but returned to Belgium in 1987 to pursue design studies. Far from her home country, she discovered other musical styles in venues around Brussels. Arab and Indian music also feature in her songs. She first sang on stage in 1996, and since then has performed and toured with a variety of musicians. In 2001, she recorded her first CD, “Ghalia Benali & Timnaa.” Benali later released “Romeo & Leila” and “Al Palna,” the latter in collaboration with sitar player Bert Cornelis.
Videography, editing, direction: Virginie Nguyen Hoang Music by: Ghalia Benali Translation: Malaka Badr Graphic animation: Yasmin Elayat