Ghalia Benali is a Tunisian poet, writer, and songwriter best known for dabbling in multiple music genres, multiculturalism, and defining contemporary Arabic music. She is also an actress and a graphic designer, a talent that goes hand-in-hand with her literature works such as "Romeo and Leila."
Although born in Brussels in 1968, Benali was raised in Zarzis, in southeastern Tunisia, where she got her early exposure to songs and dances, with her mother being her personal music teacher. Growing up, she was exposed to the world of Egyptian and Indian films, as well as the voices of Arab singers such as Adib AlDayikh, Oum Kalthoum, and Sabah Fakhri, all of which influenced her multicultural style of singing growing up.
By the age of 19, Benali returned to Belgium to study graphic design at the Institut Saint-Luc of Graphic Arts where she would begin to sing and perform professionally. Her early performances would include collaborations with live bands and fellow musicians in 1993, a tour in Portugal in 1994, and a live performance with the band "Timna," in Brussels, in 1999.
From 2001, she released a number of loved albums such as "Wild Harissa," "Nada," and "Romeo and Leila." However, the very album that put her on the map was "Ghalia Benali Sings Umm Kulthum." In fact, it was a smashing hit, earning her the title Ambassador of Arab Culture in Europe in 2009. By the following year, Benali would be featured on television across several Arab countries.
Benali is also renowned for her poetry, some of which centered around works by famous poets, Sufism, and Persian mystics. She is also known for her acting, winning an award from Women for Africa Foundation for her role in "As I Open My Eyes" in 2016, and nominated by Les Magrittes du Cinema for "Best Hope Actress" in 2017. She had played recent roles in the films "Fatwa," and "A Tale of Love and Desire."
Finally, Benali is credited for launching the Brussels-based MWSOUL Art Foundation. Having had to deal with unorganized management, she took it upon herself to launch her very own platform, a non-profit organization that brings awareness through art. You can follow them on Instagram for featured artworks and photography.