Natacha Atlas: Mounqaliba/In a State of Reversal (World Village)

 |   |  <1 min read

Natacha Atlas: Batkallim
Natacha Atlas: Mounqaliba/In a State of Reversal (World Village)

This great interpreter of Arabic music has made a number of appearances at Elsewhere for her sinuous voice and often remarkable songs. She could hold her own with TransGobal Undergrounds in the electronica-beat-driven world music end of the spectrum but her more traditional albums were much more persuasive.

This time out she goes for a broad conceptual piece with a large Turkish ensemble which brings together traditional songs, a version of Nick Drake's River Man which slides in seamlessly other than the noticeable feature of it being mostly in English, some originals and a version of Francoise Hardy's La Nuit est sur la Ville. 

Annoyingly however there are also spoken word interpolations (by various English-speaking "philosophers?") and interludes.

Musically this is as interesting as ever -- the chief player is string arranger and co-writer Samy Bishai -- and the discreet electronic touches (staccato chatter in Batkillam) act as a neat counterpoint to the swooning strings and Atlas' syrup-like melodic slides.

But with a few exceptions not much here really grips and those interludes ("show how a resource-based economy proposes direct solutions") sit at strange odds with the music. Sort of a concept album, but one with a very unclear agenda?

A disappointment. 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   World Music articles index

Various Artists: The Rough Guide to Bollywood Disco (Rough Guide/Southbound)

Various Artists: The Rough Guide to Bollywood Disco (Rough Guide/Southbound)

There is no sane or relevant reason for posting anything about this oddball digital-only compilation other than that it is silly fun, has some terrific (if borrowed) disco-dance groove which come... > Read more

Perunika Trio: A Bright Star Has Risen (ARC)

Perunika Trio: A Bright Star Has Risen (ARC)

While there can be a few problems with "file under rock" or "file under world music" on your album cover, having "Voices of Bulgaria" on your cover as a subtitle... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

BENJAMIN ZEPHANIAH INTERVIEWED (2000):  The people's poet laureate

BENJAMIN ZEPHANIAH INTERVIEWED (2000): The people's poet laureate

Britain's most popular serious performance poet for more than two decades, Benjamin Zephaniah, laughs as he recalls hating poetry as a kid. If you said you liked it, it was as if you were... > Read more

THE BARGAIN BUY: Harry Nilsson; Original Album CLassics (Sony)

THE BARGAIN BUY: Harry Nilsson; Original Album CLassics (Sony)

If Elsewhere could persuade its readers to discover just one over-looked singer-songwriter it would be Harry Nilsson who died almost penniless in '94. As with Leonard Cohen, Nilsson had lost his... > Read more