When Berit Bagøien Moe started Ellayali in 2005 she had the dream of building bridges between culture and people through the medium of music. Berit, herself a classical pianist, invited an Algerian singer, a Serb violinist and her own two daughters to get together to create a group. One of her daughters plays the violin, while the other daughter is a singer, in a wide range of languages, including Arabic. A Norwegian keyboard player, with roots in Latin music, joined the group later on. As Ellayali developed, other instruments became part of the group; santur, robab, cello, double base, darbuka, nay, saxophone and congas..
Ellayali started to experiment with mixing music from each others cultures. The members found inspiration in getting to know one anothers music, leading to something new emerging as a by-product. The result was a mixture of Arab, Kurdish, Latin, Norwegian folk melodies and classical western music. Ellayali today consists of eleven very capable musicians, some of whom compose for the group.
The members have very different musical backgrounds − Arabic, Kurdish and Afghan, Norwegian folk music, jazz, classical western and opera. And it is precisely this range of musical cultures that makes this concept so unique. It is the cutural differences that enable the players to enrich and inspire one another, as well as the public. Nevertheless they speak a common language, that of music!
Berit emphasises that the message of music, certainly as portrayed by Ellayali, has no borders. Her wish is that Ellayali shall go out and play to the world, not only because of their music, but because they bring about a vital message of peace to the world. Music is an international language which remains constant from country to country. It builds bridges and improves understanding between people. Music talks directly to the heart!