New Internationalist

Ayeshteni

June 2001

Natacha Atlas is to be marvelled at. She’s a singer – British, of mixed Muslim and Sephardic heritage – of breathtaking mettle; she communicates a musical quality that transcends difference; and she manages to make all this sound so much fun. What more could anyone want?

As 1999’s Gedida album demonstrated, Atlas has, since her relocation to Egypt, become an important player in that country’s development of al-jil (generation) music – a popular, Arabic-language format that draws from both sampler technology and Middle Eastern traditions. There are wonderful surprises scattered all over Ayeshteni. ‘Shubra’ gathers a momentum from a hint of dance beats powered by beautiful slithery strings and a vocal whose emotional quality is apparent despite any language barriers. Atlas’ foray into English for the Screamin’ Jay Hawkins classic ‘I Put a Spell on You’, hasn’t the malevolence of the original but it does have some great piano and string arrangements. More successful is a cover of Jacques Brel’s ‘Ne Me Quitte Pas’. Maybe the split-second turns of the strings suit Brel’s own twists, but the effect is undeniable. Atlas soon picks up the pace with some jaunty and mysterious songs, and while Ayeshteni’s ending is given over to a terse, heavily cut-up Nitin Sawhney mix of ‘Manbai’, the cumulative effect is of a musician who refuses any false constraints on her work.

Louise Gray

Front cover of New Internationalist magazine, issue 335 This column was published in the June 2001 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

Comments on Ayeshteni

Leave your comment







 

  • Maximum characters allowed: 5000
  • Simple HTML allowed: bold, italic, and links

Registration is quick and easy. Plus you won’t have to re-type the blurry words to comment!
Register | Login

...And all is quiet.

Subscribe to Comments for this articleArticle Comment Feed RSS 2.0

Guidelines: Please be respectful of others when posting your reply.

Ayeshteni Fact File
Product information by Natacha Atlas
Star rating4
Product link http://www.mantrarecordings.com
Publisher Mantra
Product number MNTCD 1024 CD

Get our free fortnightly eNews

Multimedia

Videos from visionOntv's globalviews channel.

Related articles

Recently in Music

All Music

Popular tags

All tags

This article was originally published in issue 335

New Internationalist Magazine issue 335
Issue 335

More articles from this issue

New Internationalist Magazine Issue 436

If you would like to know something about what's actually going on, rather than what people would like you to think was going on, then read the New Internationalist.

– Emma Thompson –

A subscription to suit you

Save money with a digital subscription. Give a gift subscription that will last all year. Or get yourself a free trial to New Internationalist. See our choice of offers.

Subscribe