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Natacha Atlas (EG/UK/BE)

A huge voice moves from dub and hip hop to acoustic experiments.

From the start of the nineties on, Natacha Atlas was part of a new, distinct fusion of electronic and traditional music from all over the world in the British underground scene. She collaborated with the bass player Jah Wobble, and became the lead singer in Transglobal Underground, where she sang on their four first records. The band enjoyed both commercial success and cult status, with their idiosyncratic global brew of genres. Her virtuoso singing shone in this context. As did her talents as a belly dancer, which became one of the defining features of their wild live shows.

In Transglobal Underground, the groundwork was laid for a solo career where she has participated in countless collaborations, with everything from slavic folk musicians and Jean Michel Jarre to Belinda Carlisle and Peter Gabriel. She has contributed to several film soundtracks and she has had a hit in France with her version of the Françoise Hardy song “Mon amie la rose”. Atlas has also continued her search for new sounds on a string of solo albums. The most recent have led her to a landscape where Arabic song and acoustic jazz coexist. The album Myriad Road was released in 2015 and showed how elegant this combination can sound.

She continues the experiments on her new album, called Strange Ways, out September 20th on Whirlwind Records. It is recorded in France and Brazil – another reminder of how Atlas, born in Belgium, with family from Britain and Egypt and listeners from all around the globe, is an artist where the term “world musician” is not necessarily reductive, but rather an apt description of an artist who has crossed boundaries for decades.

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