Gulaza continues the natural evolution of 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 Saharan 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 a world of prayer, passion, dance, love and longing for freedom.
Yemen and Africa are separated by sea. Gulaza is an expression of that sea – a sea of despair, prayer, passion, dance, love and longing for freedom. The concept of “Gulaza” was born when Igal Mizrahi and Ben Aylon joined to create a duet between an ancient yemenite song and the sound of the african N’goni, as a part of a concert in a famous festival in Europe.
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 marginalized 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. Ben, who explored the African culture and studied in West Africa with the greatest artists and local musicians understood the deep connection that exists between the cultures and joined Igal to a journey throughout the fascinating musical world of women in Yemen.
Together they began working on songs collected by Igal for years both from childhood memories and 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 their creation came the desire to expand the statement to a more universal one, and they began to look for more instruments. Ian Aylon, a guitarist specializing in South American folklore, jazz and classical guitar, joined as he added the harmonic part and complements the natural connection between Igal’s voice and the rhythms and N’goni playing of Ben. Hila Epstein, brought the classical world with the cello, adding bass, warmth and tenderness into the music of « Gulaza ».
Gulaza toured internationally in: Spain, Austria, China, Denmark, Poland, Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia and Serbia. And in festivals such as: Shanghai World Music Festival, Tres Culturas Festival, EtnoKrakow, Mikser Festival, CPH World Music Festival, OCT-Loft Jazz Fest, Boskovice 2016 and Mazal Tov Festival to name a few. Gulaza have performed all around Israel in prestigious festivals and venues such as :Beit Avi Chai (Jerusalem), Felicja Blumental Music Center, Suzanne Dellal Dance Theater, Inbal Ethnic Center, White Night Festival (Tel Aviv), Confederation House (Jerusalem), International Sacred Music Festival (Jerusalem), International Music Showcase (Jerusalem) and many more.