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When you are a force to be reckoned with, a classical Egyptian music icon, a vocal tycoon, your body can leave the soil we are roaming, but your soul becomes integrated in every person who listened to your voice. You become their history, memories, present and future.

Ghalia Benali has always been fascinated by Om Kalthoum, the most prominent of all Egyptian and Arab female singers. Listening to “Al Atlal” song as a child has shaped her passion for music. The love for the music legend ran in the family, where her parents hung a picture of Om Kalthoum on the wall of their bedroom. Benali, being the imaginative child she was, believed the photo was of her grandmother.

Years later, Benali still as passionate as ever about her fictional and honorary grandmother, she decided to embrace the love the Arab world has for her music icon and pay tribute as a loyal granddaughter. Yet instead of giving the audience a reiterated performance, she created her own rendition of the renowned music that captured her music style, Tunisian essence and spirituality.

The Ghalia Benali sings Om Kalthoum album, which consisted of five songs, was recorded in Jet studio in Brussels in 2008. Participated in this project, double bassist Vincent Noiret, rek player Ezzeddine Jazouli and oud player Moufadhel Adhoum. The album appeared under the Dutch label “Music and Word” in 2010.

The project was a huge success in Europe; thousands attended the shows regardless of the language barrier. Benali has turned it into an experience rather than a performance, with her signature body language that translated the lyrics that are beyond Europeans’ comprehension.



Ghalia Benali (Vocals)

Moufadhel Adhoum (Oud)

Vincent Noiret (Double Bass)

Firas Hassan (Percussion)



Ghalia sings Om Kalthoum with the Metropole Orchestra/Amsterdam

The quartet Live at the tabernacle/ London



* RFI Musique 2010 (Om Kalthoum album review)

* Ladepeche 2011 (Om Kalthoum)

* Muziekpublique 2015 (Om Kalthoum)


A nightingale of the East: Ghalia Benali sings Um Khultum

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