Lamia Bedioui: In my imagination, Greece was a magical country!

She is a Tunisian-born lady, who came and stayed in Greece in 1992. Her music is inspiring. And how could it not be? Her songs tell human stories that arise from various life events throughout the years and can be met in every culture.

Lamia Bedioui is an artist with a magical voice

When she sings, a narrative of passion and emotion takes the captivated audience on a musical trip.

Lamia Bedioui talks to Greek City Times about her journey from Tunisia to Greece, her band, called ‘The Desert Fish’ and her upcoming projects all over the world.

She explains that when she was still living in Tunisia, she understood that Greek culture was present in many artistic forms. “I saw that writers and poets from various countries would refer to Greece and the influence of Greek culture on Europe.”

Her inspiration comes from various cultures, traditions, cuisines. And of course from individual’s experiences. “Traditional songs usually accompanied life events, they carry such incredible emotional strength.”

Well, let’s let Mrs. Bedioui introduce herself and talk to us about her sensational life journey!

You were born in Tunisia.  How was life there?

My life in Tunisia at that time was calm, good. There was a sweetness, carelessness and tolerance. There was a tendency towards cosmopolitanism, which brought about a meeting of cultures. This created a fermentation and richness of influences.

What brought you to Greece?

I got a scholarship from the Greek state to pursue a PhD in economics. When I still lived in Tunisia, through my reading, I saw that many writers and poets from various countries would refer to Greece and the influence of Greek culture on Europe, and also, the fact that the Arabs in their golden age —besides being influenced by Greek culture —were instrumental in disseminating the works of the Greeks throughout Europe. In the world of my imagination, Greece was a magical country, the land of Homer, the cradle of civilisations. And when I came here, it felt familiar because many things reminded me of Tunisia.

Do people interact with you during concerts? What is the vibe you get?

Those who are interested in this type of music usually respond immediately. Communication is direct and mutual. I feel that the audience is tuned in and listening carefully. They respond; there is interplay between us and emotion.

What inspired you into this kind of music?

What inspires me is the richness of various cultures, the stories, music, traditions, languages, cuisines and I think I became interested in all this from my very early years in Tunisia, where the influence of French culture is still strong, alongside the Tunisian.

Do you think the Greek government and cultural institutions enhance and facilitate artistic expression?

Speaking about music, and more specifically about the kinds of music I know, such as world music, jazz, contemporary experimental music, I think the Greek state does not support this music and artistic expression adequately. Particularly when we know that this kind of music is not included in the domestic music industry. In other European countries, there are policies to support such artistic expression.

Tell us about your band and the instruments that you choose. They are carefully selected. Rabab, kaval, lyra.

“The Desert Fish” consists of four musicians who play traditional instruments such as the oud, qanun, lyra, guitar, nay, flutes and percussion. I chose these instruments because I usually work with a Mediterranean repertoire. These instruments are characteristic of the Mediterranean tradition. They are instruments which can be found in variations in every country under various names, for example in the Arabic world there is (with some variations) the rabab that looks like a lyra. Pipes are called kaval (kavali) in Thrace, Bulgaria and Turkey, but there is also the kawla in Egypt and the Middle East, also there are they nay flutes among Arabs, which in Greece are the nay of the shepherd.

You have participated in various festivals, in Greece and worldwide.  What is the most important thing you have gained?

Exchange, experience, opening.

Your songs are a result of your life experiences? Are they ‘fairytales’ or traditional tales?

Traditional songs generally accompany life and the events in people’s lives. That’s why you’ll find dirges, historical songs, work songs, wedding songs, romances and lullabies in every culture. They are the songs that arise from experience, that tell stories or fairy tales and contain morals from people’s deepest needs to express all human conditions. This is why they carry such incredible emotional strength. They are classic, universal songs.

Tell us about your latest work.

My latest work is the Athamra album with “The Desert Fish” that came out in April 2015. It is a musical journey through the countries of the Mediterranean (Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Greece, Italy, France). There are also two new compositions with which the CD begins and ends. An important element that has inspired my work is narration and storytelling. Frequently, traditional songs tell stories. I focused on the stories in the songs I chose for the CD. I based my choices on selected words in the texts that are reminiscent of fairy tales, for example, “silken slippers, pirates, golden oranges” to write a new story, that of princess “Badr El Boudour” who sees a dream. And that’s where the title of Athamra came from. Athamra means fruit in Arabic. It is the fruit of princess Badr El Boudour’s dreams and also the fruit of the entire effort.

Your upcoming projects? Italy is one of the next tour destinations?

One of my next projects is “Fin’Amor”.

It is a different musical journey, based on vocals and percussion. It was my debut CD release that I’ll be reissuing soon, remixed and remastered.

Yes, Italy is one of my next destinations for a series of concerts, also concerts in Belgium and Holland have been scheduled.

For more information, you can visit my official website lamiabedioui. com

*Ιmages by LBedioui Music Production (Copyright)

Maria Petropoulou

Contributor

Maria Petropoulou is a Greek journalist currently working in a leading Greek news site. She loves culture, travelling and writing and she has combined all these in order to create her own key to happiness. She was born in Athens, studied there and continued with a Master’s degree in UK. London. She also owns the travel blog My Landing Runway, where you can find all her travel stories and wanderings. Now she begins her trip with GCT as our European cultural correspondent; she would like to welcome you all on board.

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