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Ayeshteni

Natacha Atlas

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Album Review

Though a native of Belgium, Natacha Atlas is of Egyptian ancestry and has been bewitching Western listeners with her melismatic Arabic vocals since the early '90s as a solo artist and a member of the worldbeat dance band Transglobal Underground. All of her solo albums have been impressive, but this one is her best so far. As always, she's helped out in the beats department by her colleagues in Transglobal Underground, and as always their stylistic promiscuity stands her in good stead: her original songs, sung in Arabic as usual, are an entrancing fusion of snaky, modal melodies and gutbucket funk grooves — "Ashwa," "Mish Fadilak," and her adaptation of Zebda's "Soleil D'Egypte" are all every bit as rhythmically irresistible as they are seductively lovely. And the cover versions are, if anything, even better; she turns the torching Jacques Brel classic "Ne Me Quitte Pas" into a slinky dancefloor come-on, and delivers the best version of "I Put a Spell on You" since the death of Screamin' Jay Hawkins. Is there anything she can't do?

Biography

Born: 20 March 1964 in Brussels, Belgium

Genre: World

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

North African and Arabian music is given a modern, dance-inspiring twist by Brussels-born and Washington, D.C.-based vocalist Natacha Atlas. A former singer for techno-pop band Transglobal Underground, and an occasional collaborator of Jah Wobble, Atlas has continued to explore the fusion of her musical roots with Western electronic dance music. While Option magazine explained, "[Atlas] has a beautiful voice, which sounds curiously like a blend between traditional Middle Eastern singers and Elizabeth...
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Ayeshteni, Natacha Atlas
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