Aziza Brahim (Arabic: عزيزة ابراهيم, born June 9, 1976) is a Sahrawi singer and actress.
She was born in 1976 in the Sahrawi refugee camps, in the Tindouf region of Algeria where her mother had settled in late 1975, fleeing from the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara. Her father remained in El Aaiun where he later died. Due to the Western Sahara War, Aziza never met him.
Growing up in the severe conditions of these desert camps, Aziza discovered music was both a source of entertainment and a natural way to express and communicate her personal emotions and thoughts of resistance.
At the age of 11, she received scholarships to study in Cuba, as many Sahrawi students at the time. She wanted to study music, but was rejected. She left school and returned to the refugee camps in 1995, pursuing her musical career. Since 2000 she has lived in Spain, first in León and later in Barcelona. She is married and she has a daughter.
In 1995, she won the "1st National Song Contest", in the National Culture Festival of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. She then joined the "National Sahrawi Music Group", touring Mauritania and Algeria. In 1998 she contributed with two songs to the v.v.a.a. album "A pesar de las heridas". That year she toured Europe with and the Sahrawi group Leyoad, visiting Spain, France and Germany. In 1999 she returned to the refugee camps, recording a session for the Sahrawi National Radio with Touareg musicians from Tamanrasset, Algeria. Between 2001 and 2003, she toured again in Spain, France and Germany with Leyoad. In 2005, she collaborated with the Spanish latin jazz band Yayabo. In 2007 she created the group Gulili Mankoo, composed of musicians from Western Sahara, Spain, Colombia or Senegal, mixing traditional African music with blues and rock, recording with them in 2008 her first solo work, the EP "Mi Canto". In 2009 she collaborated on a song of the v.v.a.a. rap EP "Interrapcion - Crisol 09", and one song from her EP was featured in the compilation album "Listen to the Banned". Since 2009, Aziza Brahim has been regularly touring Spain and France with the Basque txalaparta group Oreka Tx, in the "Nömadak Tx en directo" tour.
In 2011, she gets involved in the Spanish film Wilaya, composing, producing and interpreting the original soundtrack, as well as acting for the first time in a film.
In February 2012, Reaktion released Brahim's first LP, entitled "Mabruk" in honour of her grandmother, for June. In April, Efe Eme magazine reported that Brahim would take part in the 2012 edition of the WOMAD Cáceres festival.
In 2014 Aziza Brahim released her third album Soutak (Glitterbeat, 2014), an acoustic record featuring musicians from both the Barcelona and Malian music scenes and incorporating Malian, Spanish, Cuban and contemporary Anglo-European influences in addition to Brahim's traditional Sahrawi sound.Soutak topped the World Music Charts Europe (WMCE) three times (March, April and May 2014).
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license