World Music - Yemenite Women Songs

Gulaza continues the natural evolution of Jewish Yemenite Women songs. Mystical texts that have passed for centuries from mother to daughter acquire a modern and contemporary meaning in a special instrumental composition.The combination of traditional Middle East strings and percussion, cello and acoustic guitars, and the fact that these songs are sung for the first time by a man - creates a unique soundtrack that takes the listener into a world of prayer, passion, dance, love and longing for freedom.


Four artists come together and continue the natural evolution of Yemenite Women songs. Instinctive and mystical texts that have passed for centuries from mother to daughter acquire a modern and contemporary meaning in a special instrumental composition. The combination of traditional Middle Eastern strings, cello and acoustic guitars, and the fact that these songs are sung for the first time by a man - creates a unique soundtrack that takes the listener into the deep world of the women in Yemen.

Igal, whose father is of Yemenite origin and mother of Moroccan descent, born in Algeria, was exposed in his life to the hidden and fascinating world of Yemenite Women, and has spent years studying their traditional songs and texts that expresses the marginalised life in the Yemenite society. These songs were told as secrets and have been preserved for generations from word of mouth, from mother to daughter. Igal collected the songs for years, from childhood memories and from personal meetings with old Yemenite women.

The starting point of the creative process was influenced by the Yemenite Jewish tradition, that used singing and drumming alone, as since the destruction of the Holy Temple it was forbidden to use musical instruments as a sign of mourning.

During the creation Igal felt the desire to expand the statement to a more universal one, and began to look for more instruments. Ian, a guitarist specializing in South American folklore, jazz and classical guitar, joined adding the harmonic part. Leat, brought the classical world with the cello, adding bass, warmth and tenderness into the music of "Gulaza". David, a middle east music percussionist and Jumbush player joined the group, adding new tones and rhythms to the ancient yemenite music.

Offering a very unique and experiential performance Gulaza quickly burst into Europe, invited to perform on known and important World Music Festivals stages. Gulaza toured internationally in: Spain, Austria, Germany, Denmark, Faroe Islands, Sweden, Norway, Poland, Czech Republic, Romania, Slovenia, Serbia, South Korea and China.In Israel Gulaza performed in main Festivals and venues: Beit Avi Chai(Jerusalem), Felicia Blumental Music Center, Inbal Ethnic Center, White night Festival(Tel - Aviv), International Sacred Music Festival, International Music Showcase, Sufi Festival, Tel - Aviv Jazz Festival and more


The Story Behind The Songs

​In July 2013, 11 year old Nada Al-Ahdal from Yemen, revealed the story of the Yemenite women and shared it with the world through all social networks, and with great courage avoided of getting married by force to a rich Saudi man.

The Woman in Yemen was and still married from childhood (11-15 years old) to a man she doesn't even know, sometimes as a second or third wife. Often she is forced to leave her home and family and travels a long distance to an unknown destination without the possibility of seeing her family again.

The Women's lyrics and songs (in Arabic) are considered as Folk music that have passed from mother to daughter for centuries, allowing them to escape the everyday hard life and create a spiritual-inner world of freedom and expression.

The singing is of an improvisational character, and exists in their everyday work and household tasks such as: flour grinding, laundry, cooking, basket weaving and most importantly at the "Hena" ceremony when the women in separated from her family.


Gulaza has a vast experience in educational workshops and masterclasses.These interactive classes are held by the band members in several possible formats and can be adapted to different age groups, schools, high schools, students and also as an enrichment course for adults.The masterclasses are suitable for a large audience as well as smaller crowds and intimate dialogues. Gulaza encourages members of different communities to join and connect, and invites groups of all ages to take part, learn and to be moved by the music and stories.

Gulaza's main musical influences are:
- Traditional folk music from Yemen that includes women songs and sacred religious songs. Both styles contain fascinating stories and emotional texts
- Middle East music. Rhythms and string instruments from the Middle East
- Argentinian-Indian folklore, guitars and harmonies
- Classical and Chamber music

Gulaza has found a perfect blend and a special language that mixes these different worlds into one exciting fusion. The audience has the chance to taste a range of colours and styles that were combined together with one goal of telling a story that was barely told till today. The stories and songs are presented by Gulaza using traditional Yemenite and Middle East instruments and are accompanied by personal stories of research that were made in order to reveal the secrets behind the music.

Masterclass Topics:
- Background on Yemen and its culture and the Jewish community in YemenOn ‘Sacred Songs’ - the tradition of male singing
- On 'Song of the Sands' - the tradition of women singing
- Musical performance from Gulaza’s repertoire and the story behind the texts of the songs
- About traditional rhythms of Yemen
- About the Yemenite dance and a study of the basic Yemenite step



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