EARLY LIFE & CAREER
Ghalia Benali, born in Brussels, Belgium on December 21st, 1968 to Ali Benali, a physician and cytologist, and Najia Somai, a beautician. She has three younger brothers Zied, Taher and Bechir. At the age of four, Benali’s father ended his medical studies and decided to return to the family’s homeland, where she later grew up in Zarzis, a small coastal town in southeastern Tunisia.
As a young girl, she started exploring her melodic fascination with recitations of the Quran, Indian and Egyptian cinema, in addition to Middle Eastern and Arab musicians as Om Kalthoum, Sabah Fakhri and Adib AlDayikh.
With the support of her mother, Benali used to play dress up at family gatherings and perform to of her guests, yet due to her shy nature, singing for a crowd was rather challenging. She would occasionally pretend being interviewed in front of her bedroom’s mirror.
Before becoming an artist and musician, she hoped for a job that would allow her to travel and explore the world and even considered becoming a flight attendant. After finishing her science and mathematics studies at the age of 19, Benali returned to Brussels to study graphic design at the Institute Saint-Luc of Graphic Arts to express herself through imagery and artistry.
After graduating, Benali became an independent artist and graphic designer. Soon her passion for music further nourished after performing at her friend’s birthday, which she considers the day it all started.
MUSICAL STYLE & INFLUENCES
Ghalia Benali’s voice has been dubbed as multicultural and polymorphic.
Spending the first four years of her life in Brussels, Benali’s parents found comfort away from their homeland in music. Her mother highly appreciated French, Indian and Egyptian music while her father had an inclination towards Classical music such as Beethoven, in addition to Iraqi and Jordanian tunes.
Her music has been noted for its attribution to multiple genres. Benali’s southern Tunisian upbringing and fascination with Middle Eastern and Arab legendary musicians such as Om Kalthoum, Abdel Basit Abdel Samad and Adib ElDayekh (AlMashayekh school) are palpable in her music style. Other influential sources on Benali’s mystical and spiritual art are Hazrat Inayat Khan and Sri Aurobindo, one of the greatest thinkers in India, and the cultures of Flamenco and gypsies of Rajasthan.
On December 21st, 1993, Benali celebrated her 25th birthday, first rise on stage and the 10th anniversary of a venue called Amadeus. She performed with an oriental band she met on stage, together with J.P. Gebbler, a Belgian jazz player, classical western musicians and a flamenco band. In June 1994, CASA CAIUS invited her to tour in Portugal, where she performed a line-up of 6 concerts in some of the most iconic historical places in North Portugal for the Roland Company.
Four years later, the musician collaborated with stylist, Vanessa Neirynck, in the international competition of styling “Brothers cup” in China and came in second. Later on, she left for Rajasthan, India, to learn dancing. In 1999, Benali was invited by Kunsten-festival-des arts to perform in a concert in Bazaar in Brussels on a project with a new band that later on will be known as Timna/Wild harissa.
- ALLEGORY OF DESIRE
- ARTE BIENNALE-VENICE 2017
- DISCOGRAPHY & FILMOGRAPHY
- DRAW ME A DOLL
- EARLY LIFE & CAREER
- GHALIA BENALI by EMAD FOUAD
- GHALIA BENALI SINGS OM KALTHOUM
- Ghalia’s EVENTS
- INDIAN HADRA
- MUSIC VENTURES
- ONE HOUR BEFORE GODS AWAKE
- SLIDES OF LIFE
- Songs (Araftu/river)
- The Fairytale
- VINYAN NOTEBOOK