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 Bollywood; the land of eternal love, music that tickles the soul and saris that turn women into goddesses. Ghalia Benali has always been spellbound by the Indian culture and its visionary art.

The music, costumes, colorful fabrics and choreography have mesmerized her to the extent that she would listen to radio stations broadcasting Indian music during classes. Years later, the songstress felt the need to infuse her Arabic roots with the Indian ethnicity in the one way she can truly express her soul, music.

In 1991, Benali attended the Indian school in Brussels where she met sitar player, Bert Cornelis. After a long jamming session, the song “Bharat” came to life, which evolved over the years to set the tone of “Al Palna” album.

The name of the album signified the amalgamation of the Arabic and Indian cultures. The word Al means “The” in Arabic, while Palna means “cradle” in Hindi. The album was released in 2008, followed by a tour in India in 2009.

Benali began envisioning herself as a part of mehfils, which are recitals performed in the homes and palaces of Indian and Pakistani Muslim royalty and noblemen. The musician’s concerts felt like a celebration of gathered souls that never seemed to separate.

The intimate audience of avid music and poetry-recitation lovers continuously appeared entranced with the uniting classical Arabic and Indian tunes. Spiritual poetry about Love, also known as Ghazal, was a commonly performed genre.

Later on, Al Plana was reborn in Egypt as ‘The Indian Hadra’ with violin player, Ayman Asfour, and Arabic percussionist, Ayman Mabrouk. The Indian sitar and tablas, while chanting Sufi Arabic words took the audience on a divine journey. It was a project meant for liberal souls and minds. The music is closer to an Athan, which is a call to pray for God.



  • Ghalia Benali (Vocals)
  • Bert Cornelis (Sitar)
  • Ayman Asfour (Violin)
  • Ayman Mabrouk (Arabic Percussions)
  • Sandip Bhattchariya (Indian Tablas)
  • Pascale Snoeck (Sound engineer)





* Scoopempire 2015 (Indian Hadra)



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