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Farida Zouj

Author, composer, singer



Photo credit: ©Luna Valderrama

Born in 1964, Farida Zouj is originally from Oran (Algeria) with parents who are both Moroccan. She arrived in Brussels at the age of 3 and has been living there ever since. It is in this context of a child from an immigrant background that she had the privilege of discovering music from here and elsewhere at a very early age. Lulled by Algerian, Moroccan and French songs, she was in contact with popular music from these different corners of the world through audio-cassette players, radio television or the songs her mother sung when she felt nostalgic for her country. Farida means "one" and Zouj means "two", which evokes her singular duality.

From basic school, she joined a choir, studied physical education in secondary school and then went on to study psychology at the ULB. Once she graduated, she fulfilled her childhood dream and began training at the Ateliers de la Chanson Française de Bruxelles (1990). There she developed a taste for the stage with all the passion, joy, creativity and various contacts with the artists of the Brussels scene. She wrote her first texts, composed her first melodies and recorded two titles on the compilation album "Photo d'identités" produced by Sowarex in 1993.

Author, composer and performer, she reconciled her job as a psychologist and psychotherapist with her life as an artist, going from singing as the leader of her own group to secondary roles as a chorister, member of various world groups, French song, polyphonies, children's songs, various performances... Since then, she has been singing and quickly set foot on the French theatre scene, first for young audiences and then, regularly since 2005, for adult audiences.

A researcher at heart, she explored workshops and courses that allowed her to develop her voice and stage presence. Vocal technique, Yoruba singing (Cuba), classical singing (Western and Arabic), Moroccan châabi singing, vocal percussion, derbouka, djembe, signed rhythms and body techniques. She approached jazz thanks in particular to the "jazz au vert" workshops organised by the Lundis d'Hortense. This is where she approached the work of vocal improvisation and harmony. At the summer academy, she worked "the only one on stage", Indian singing and flamenco singing. In her compositions and voice inflections, one can hear all these influences that characterize her mixed, curious and open-minded career.

In 2007, she released an intimate, self-penned album "Chienne de vie" which features 12 tracks with lyrics in Arabic and French, sometimes both languages are present in the same piece, all wrapped in jazz arrangements under the musical direction of Alexandre Furnelle. She participated in a few competitions, music festivals, tours her group in Belgium and Paris, organized workshops and gave voice lessons. She participates in several recordings of pieces of the project « Brassens dans tous ses états » in 2021.

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