Formed in Tunis, the largest and capital city of Tunisia, Groupe Elyssa represent the North African country's synergistic style of music, creatively combining updates of old Tunisian songs with the group's own. Groupe Elyssa doesn't practice a particular style of music, instead synthesizing its many interests, which range from classical and Arabian to rock and reggae. Dadou Labidi (keyboard/percussion), Lyes Abid (guitar/keyboard/percussion), and Mourad Labidi (bass) united in early 1999 to form the group's core lineup. Vocalist Sarra Nouioui joined these three a couple months later, adding a key element to Groupe Elyssa's quickly evolving sound. Darbouka player Ramadan added another key element when he joined the group a year later in summer 2000. Around this time Abid bought some studio equipment, and the group recorded its debut album, From Jamaica to Tunisia, in December. Groupe Elyssa then toured, establishing fan bases in North Africa and also more distant countries such as France, Italy, and Norway. In October 2001 the group released its second album, Jenoubi Blues, which had been recorded in a more professional studio with the aid of Eunice (darbouka) and Sophian (douff). The following year Grouple Elyssa went on hiatus so that the many members could pursue other opportunities. After two years of relentless touring and recording, the group needed a rest.
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