Categories :

Similar artists



World - Released April 23, 2001 | Mantra

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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? ~ Rick Anderson

Contemporary Jazz - Released October 4, 2019 | Whirlwind Recordings

Hi-Res Booklet
Natacha Atlas brings back her multi-talented team which she surrounded herself with in 2015 for her Myriad Road album with violinist and composer Samy Bishai, half-English and half-Egyptian, just like her. Their shared dual identity drives the way forward on a journey across elegant jazz arrangements where the quarter tones of Oriental music can express a whole new kind of sound. The surging vigour of Bishai’s violin and Natacha Atlas’ precise and enchanting modulating singing are both supported by a solid base of inspired international musicians. The faithful pianist Alcyona Mick (London Jazz Orchestra), the Norwegian trumpetist Hayden Powell, the Lyon trombonist Robinson Khoury, the bassist Andy Hamill (4hero, Laura Mvula, Annie Lennox…), the Midlands drummer Laurie Lowe, who alternates with the Israeli Asaf Sirkis and the Portuguese percussionist Oli Savill, each bring their own personal touch. Some featured artists enrich this tapestry even more. The Brazilian guitarist Paulo Vinìcius reinforces the languid bossa-nova of Sunny Day, the Algerian raï player Sofiane Saidi highlights the message behind Lost Revolutions, the Anglo-Swiss Tanya Wells, expert in ghazal singing, brings the sounds of India or Iran to the album on Inherent Rhythm, and soul sister Joss Stone creates a beautiful vocal contrast in the smoky atmosphere of Words of a King. But the best track is without a doubt saved for the end, the surprising cover of the James Brown classic It’s a Man’s World, which precedes the delicately stripped back Moonchild. A pioneer of the ethno-electro genre since her beginnings at the heart of Transglobal Underground, Natacha Atlas has been a successful francophone singer since her 1999 cover of  François Hardy’s Mon amie la rose and an important performer of Nick Drake in 2010; she does not stop reinventing herself by promoting a strong cross-cultural identity which allows her to command eclecticism and excellence. © Benjamin MiNiMuM/Qobuz

World - Released May 23, 2005 | Mantra


World - Released September 23, 2010 | world village

Natacha Atlas has never lacked ambition and desire in her music, and there are times here where she seems to be trying to channel the spirit of the great Egyptian singer Oum Kalthoum. The strings sweep along and are twists that keep it from being a straightforward Egyptian album, such as the addition of piano that crops up so often, or the programming on "Batkallim" (actually the CD's most ambitious track, as it fuses Middle Eastern culture with the 21st century quite successfully). One of the cover versions doesn't fare as well as the original material (or as well as the version of Francoise Hardy's "La Nuit Sur la Ville," which drops easily into place); her take on Nick Drake's "River Man" is simply too mannered, adding vocals details that detract from the pastoral evening atmosphere of the song. Whether the sampled speaking voices that keep cropping up between tracks are necessary is debatable, too. Cut away those parts, however, and the remainder gives further proof that Atlas is certainly becoming the Egyptian diva for the Western market. The arrangements are superbly lush and the singing keeps getting better and better. ~ Chris Nickson

World - Released September 17, 1990 | Mantra

Natacha Atlas' third album greatly expands upon the promise of her earlier work -- on Gedida, her fusion of Arabic musical traditions and contemporary dance beats really jells, eliminating the more gimmicky dimensions of earlier records to strike a fascinating balance between old and new. While tracks like "Kifaya" and "Ezzay" magnify the cinematic aspirations of past efforts, Gedida also takes a number of fascinating left turns -- a cover of Françoise Hardy's "Mon Amie la Rose" is hauntingly beautiful, while on the closing "One Brief Moment" Atlas delivers her first English-language vocal. ~ Raymond McKinney

World - Released September 2, 2002 | Mantra

Natacha Atlas' Something Dangerous is a bit slicker than her last, lightening up the beats and sexy intensity of Ayeshteni for more radio-friendly pop electronics, occasional vocal harmonies reminiscent of Destiny's Child, and lots of guests. Not that you could tell from the first cut, the gorgeous "Adam's Lullaby," on which she's backed by a gently playing Prague Symphony Orchestra string section. After this peaceful opener, the pace picks up with the dancehall-style "Eye of the Duck," featuring fellow Transglobal Underground member Tuup. Then the title cut gets a little funky while Atlas trades off vocal duties with the rapping Princess Julianna. A little later, Atlas takes on "Man's World." While her voice is lovely for it, the cover doesn't quite recapture the magic of her last album's success with Jacques Brel's "Ne Me Quitte Pas" and Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "I Put a Spell on You." The collaboration with Sinéad O'Connor, "Simple Heart," is a high point, and the album really hits its stride in the songs that follow, with especially good interaction between Atlas and Niara Scarlett on "Who's My Baby," before mellowing out into closing ambient cuts. ~ Joslyn Layne

World - Released September 17, 1990 | Nation

Atlas' second solo record -- for some strange reason never released in America, where the first and third were -- continues in her vein of excellent Arabic singing combined with a wide variety of musical traditions, modern and ancient. Working with four distinct cowriting/production groups this time around, including her collaborators in Transglobal Underground in one group and, in another, Killing Joke mainman Jaz Coleman (pursuing his other interest in orchestrations), Atlas again creates an intoxicating series of love songs, all sung in Arabic but with lyrical snippets printed in English. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the most technological and dancefloor-friendly numbers are done with the Transglobal crowd, who work on about half the album's tracks. "Moustahil" and "Amulet" both feature shuffling dance beats and loops along with a number of performers on such instruments as oud and dharabuka, plus energetic backing vocals from duo Sawt El Atlas. Coleman's tracks, "Enogoom Wil Amar" and "Andeel," equally deserve notice for Atlas' vocals and his own striking, lush arrangements, while her collaboration with Egyptian musician/orchestra leader Essam Rashad, "Ya Albi Ehda," is a beauty in the vein of older Arabic popular music. No matter who's working with her performing what, though, it's Atlas' show all the way, her singing shimmering out with all the beauty one could ever want in a vocalist. ~ Ned Raggett

World - Released April 24, 2006 | Mantra

Even when paying homage to the Moroccan music she grew up with, vocalist Natacha Atlas can't help but let the multicultural and modern seep in. With bossa nova, Western pop, and just a thin slice of electronica figuring into the mix, the "back to my roots" album Mish Maoul is a rich collection of music that doesn't sound decorated but natural coming from an artist who prides herself in being a musical nomad. Easy to believe a nomad's memories of her homeland would be foggy and sentimental, and easy to believe the modern nomad's soundtrack would sound something like this -- only something like this because this is far and away Atlas' most personal album. Suitably, she seems totally in charge of its construction, making interesting production choices with the help of Temple of Sound, Timothy Whelan, and others. For someone who has worked with Transglobal Underground, Art of Trance, and Jah Wobble in the past, the restraint Atlas uses on the rhythmic and ritualistic "Hayati Inta" is surprising and creates an intoxicating tension with only a slight bit of electric guitar revealing this isn't a field recording. Minor bits of studio trickery decorate the otherwise earthy "Bathaddak," while the playful "Haram Aleyk" lazily strolls from organic to electronic and back again. Pulling out the stops are the Massive Attack-by-way-of-Bollywood "Lil Khowf" and the much more pop "Feen," which could be considered the album's lone stumble depending on your tolerance for sweet "You can do it!" songs. With only a Brazilian-flavored acoustic guitar supporting Atlas' entrancing voice and heartfelt delivery, "Yariet" brings the album to a soft, organic close and suddenly it becomes apparent that despite the electronics and genre blending heard previously, Atlas music isn't so much "otherworldly" now as "worldly" in the most eye-opening sense of the word. ~ David Jeffries

World - Released July 3, 2000 | Mantra


World - Released October 22, 2001 | Mantra


World - Released August 19, 2002 | Mantra


World - Released April 14, 1997 | Nation


World - Released September 19, 2000 | Mantra

Polyglot chanteuse Natacha Atlas has always been open to multiple cultural influences, so a remix collection by producers as varied as Talvin Singh, Youth, and DJ Spooky is a natural. And the results are as good as one would expect: Singh takes Atlas to the Asian underground with a bhangrafied drum'n'bass mix of "Duden" (a track which DJ Spooky deconstructs in a funkier and dubbier manner later in the program), while Banco de Gaia gets clubby on "Yalla Chant" and the Bullitnuts turn "Bastet" into a journey to the center of ambient trip-hop. No one gets funkier than Youth, though, whose mid-tempo arrangement of "Yalla Chant" incorporates found-sound samples, virtuoso scratching, and readings from Hindu cosmology into a chugging, wailing cosmic blowup. For the source material to most of this program, pick up Atlas' solo album Halib and Transglobal Underground's Psychic Karaoke. ~ Rick Anderson

Contemporary Jazz - Released August 30, 2019 | Whirlwind Recordings


World - Released January 25, 2010 | Six Degrees Records


Electronic/Dance - Released September 27, 2011 | Six Degrees Records


World - Released September 21, 2010 | Six Degrees Travel Series