The fourth solo album from former Transglobal Underground vocalist and belly dancer Natacha Atlas continues her march from campy Semitic sendup to serious Arabic artist. While her debut has its pleasures -- Arabic rapping, some Sephardic Jewish tunes, big club beats, and the Liz Taylor inspired cover art -- Atlas has since positioned herself as an Arabic artist working in the Levantine vanguard, as opposed to a U.K.-based singer trolling in the exotic. It's a strategy that has paid off -- Gedida, her previous album, established her as a superstar within France's Arabic community. Ayeshteni rides that wave, recorded entirely in Cairo and focused on the Egyptian pop rhythm known as chaabi, it's the smartest and best-recorded of its class. Swelling strings straight out of the Cairo film orchestras' heyday stab at the percussion-rattled air, through which floats Atlas's ever more virtuosic singing. The occasional turntable scratches and wah-wah guitar add a funky millennial twist but never overpower Atlas's Oriental mystery. A pair of notable covers -- Jacques Brel's "Ne Me Quitre Pas" and Screaming Jay Hawkins's "I Put a Spell on You" -- are fairly naked attempts to broaden her market, but her particularly outrageous reading of "Spell" does the trick. "Soleil d'Egypte," produced by French ethno-punks Zebda, is a cinematic drum 'n' bass dub number; "Mish Fadilak" is Club Med fodder with its insistent lovers' groans. Atlas and her longtime Transglobal producers walk a fine line on Ayeshteni, but the results are worth it: artistically solid, musically inventive, and ultimately entrancing, this could be Atlas's biggest record yet.
Performance CreditsNatacha Atlas Primary Artist
Essam Rashad Oud
Larry Whelan Clarinet,Saxophone
Hamid Mantu Drums,Keyboards,Voices
Timothy Whelan Organ,Guitar,Piano
Tamer Ghoneim Violin
Medhat Abdel Samie Violin
Hani Farahat Violin
DJ Awe scratching
Mohandiseen Male Voice Choir Background Vocals
Taha Taha Cello
Technical CreditsNatacha Atlas Adaptation
Nitin Sawhney Remixing
Essam Rashad Arranger,Producer
Hamid Mantu Programming
Tom Rixton Engineer
Timothy Whelan Programming
Yehia Abdallah Contributor
Mika Sabet Producer
Mohamed Kly Contributor
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Ayeshteni based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
There's a lot of different sounds that you have to aquire to listen to. For example: Someone from Western culture would listen to this album and wonder what's going on with the harmony and where is the rythm taking them. But once you get the hang of listening to this interesting combonation of harmonies, you'll love it. Her voice grabs your heart and shakes your soul.