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Awards for World Music 2007 - Middle East & North Africa
Natacha Atlas

Natacha Atlas album cover
As Europe currently struggles with a supposed clash between Western and Islamic civilisations Natasha Atlas is a fine example of how the best of both cultures can fuse beautifully. Natacha Atlas (it's her real name) was born in Belgium, of Middle Eastern descent, with ancestral and family links to Egypt, Palestine and Morocco. Having lived in Brussels, Egypt, Greece and England, her experience of different cultures has most certainly influenced her music.

Atlas's career began in the 1980s when she sang on club hit Timbal then joined Jah Wobble’s Invaders Of The Heart. This lead to her meeting London multi-culti band Trans Global Underground who fused dance music with Indian and Arabic influences. Atlas became Trans Global’s vocalist and resident belly dancer and the most glamorous figure on the early 90s free festival and rave scene.

Atlas launched her solo career with Diaspora in 1995. Atlas’s ability to blend Arabic music and contemporary Western pop have won her a wide international audience. Her albums have ranged from the shimmering, traditional beauty of Foretold In The Language Of Dreams featuring Syrian qanun master Abdullah Chhadeh to the bouncy rap-pop-funk-Hindi-French chanson blend of Something Dangerous. Her latest album, 2006’s Mish Maoul, mixes electro tracks with rappers against epic orchestrated ballads where Natasha is backed by The Golden Sounds Studio Orchestra of Cairo. Atlas is not only a gifted singer but one unafraid of pushing boundaries.

This sense of adventure has found Atlas employed by soundtrack composer David Arnold to sing on such scores as Stargate and Die Another Day while she has lent her vocals to recordings with the likes of Nitin Sawhney, The Indigo Girls, FunDaMental, Musafir, Apache Indian and many, many others.

Atlas’s ability to break down borders and bring different cultures together was noted by Mary Robinson (ex-President of Ireland) who, in 2001, appointed Atlas Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Conference Against Racism.

“She embodies the message that there is a strength in diversity,” noted Robinson of Atlas, “that our differences – be they ethnic, racial or religious – are a source of riches to be embraced rather than feared.”

Garth Cartwright

Natacha Atlas website
Read other people's comments then Tell us what you think:

Paul Burton, Manchester, England, UK
I discovered Natacha Atlas whilst studying in France in 2005, 'Mon amie la rose' is beautiful and I love the latest album ie. 'Quand je ferme mes yeux'.

Natacha is a fraud.She's not arabic, she's not a real singer. She is as confused and confusing as her music her style her interviews and her past.

zwz / Palestine / Ramallah
NATACHA Actually.... As usual You are not easy .... Free Palestine......

Mirielle, Europe
I love you Natacha, so romantic, just wish I was as rich and sang as much Arabic as you too, fancy doing a duet, my singing is quite nice.

inch (bulgaria)
Natasha is GREAT!I love her music, her beautifull voice makes me ecstatic!

Michelle (Seattle, Washington, USA)
Natacha Atlas is truly my favorite singer of all time. I have never heard music quite like hers, neither western nor middle-eastern. It is truly a unique and rare blend that comes together more beautifully than words can express.

Sam McMahon (Bristol)
The gorgeous Natacha Atlas is possibly my favourite musical discovery of all time. Her voice is like nothing I've ever heard before (and having seen her perform in the flesh, I can confirm it's equally as impressive live). It's so powerful, so hypnotic & mesmerising. I fell in love with her just from hearing her voice alone. Her recent album 'Mish Maoul' is another wonderful record to add to her impressive catalogue. It's less of a 'fusion' record than her recent efforts, but it's certainly no less brilliant for that. Thanks to her I've discovered to often neglected (in the west at least) joys of Arabic music, and for that I'm eternally greatful. She's up there with the best of them.

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