Aziza Brahim was born and raised in the Saharawi refugee camps in Algeria where her family settled in late 1975, after fleeing from the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara. In the severe conditions of the desert camps, Aziza discovered music as a way to express her personal emotions and thoughts of resistance. When she was 11 she journeyed to Cuba to further her school studies. After graduating her application for a music scholarship was denied. Disappointed but not discouraged, she returned to Algeria and set about developing her own musical path, joining the National Sahawari Music Group. In 2000 she settled in Spain where after a series of cross-cultural collaborations she founded her own band, Gulili Mankoo. In 2014 her third album, Soutak, bridging Sahawari and Malian music, was released by WOMEX label award-winners Glitterbeat.