As part of the Abu Dhabi Festival and marking Women’s day & March is

Francophone festival

Alliance française Abu Dhabi presents


In partnership with ADMAF and the Institut Français UAE

Five female musicians coming from different cultures and varied musical universes play and sing women’s tolerance and fraternity…

Gathered around the princess of Qanoun, Hend Zouari, Gwen (accordion), Amal (violin), Malika (percussion) and Meriem (Oud) sing the joys and sorrows of Oriental women today. Through their voices and melodies united, it is the whole poetry of women from all countries that is expressed, through the rich colors of their melodies…

Hend Zouari is one of the few women who master the qanun. She created her own playing style, keeping the authenticity of oriental music and drawing influences from beautiful music of various origins.

She composed and selected a repertoire of original compositions and traditional eastern and western songs arranged in a manner appropriate to each of Diwan musicians.

It is in this perspective that Hend chose women of different cultures, each with a unique and indispensable role. Gwenola Maheux a talented accordionist and with the voice of Edit Piaf and her western world, has been able to integrate into the wonderful flutist Amina Mezaache  and the violinist Amal Guermazi who thrills the audience with her personal musical color. Not to mention Malika Abbes who brings, with her electro arrangements, a modern and international dimension to the group.

HEND ZOUARI, Kanun, vocals, author, composer

Music, a family story

In the Zouari household, music is essential! So much so that television twice entered the family home to recount this extraordinary phenomenon. First in 1987 then in 1994 to film the young Hend aged 13, who had just won first prize for the zither at the Kram festival for child musicians (near Carthage). Her grandmother, mother, father, brother and uncle are all musicians. Father plays the zither (quanun) and the lute (oud) and has accompanied the greatest Tunisian singers. Her uncle practices the organ and the violin while holding the office of associate professor and dean at the Sfax Institut Supérieur de Musique. As for her brother, he is simply one of the best violinists in the country.

Hend remembers « In 1992 following my father’s advice (he was my first music teacher) I began to study the oriental zither, and so far, I have done my best to develop the style of playing this instrument while retaining its classical oriental charm. To do so, I introduce techniques from other instruments as well as western harmonies into my interprétations. »

In 2001, she took part in an international zither festival in Algeria and won third prize. This experience enabled her to meet the greatest zither players of the Arab world, such as Hasan Falah notably famous for having accompanied the singer Kadhim Sehir. « This festival greatly interested me and opened my mind to other music and other ways of tackling the zither. After that, I decided to create my own style and I wanted it to be as rich and universal as possible. »

Between 2001 and 2004, Hend performed increasingly in concerts in the Maghreb countries with different classical music groups. She also created her own female group.

In 2004, the government awarded her a scholarship so that she could continue her studies in Paris. She entered the University of the Sorbonne for a DEA post graduate diploma in musicology. Since then, she has increased her number of concerts and festivals and her style has developed remarkably sharing stage and studio with artists such as Souad Massi or Gabriel Yared.

Her first album « L’envol » of her own compositions and covers has been released in June 2008 (Quart de Lune / Rue Stendhal Distribution) and since then she has been touring with her oriental trio all over France. She also created other bands such as the flamenco-oriental sextet with Manuel Delgado and Carmen Doora or “Farabi” ensemble with Ahmad and Javid Yayazadeh (Iran) and Dolip Khan (Rajasthan). At the same time, she continues with her career as a musician touring with Sapho, Ibrahim Maalouf, Nassima, etc.

Click here to find out more about Hend Zouari – Click here to listen to her music.