Natacha Atlas returns next month with her latest album blending Middle Eastern, African and European sounds. Mounqaliba features new songs written in classical Arabic by Atlas and collaborator Samy Bishai, who learned violin from Russians and Armenians in Egypt. Atlas’ multicultural background—half Moroccan/Egyptian/Palestinian and half British and largely raised in Belgium—plays out in her genre bending music with its appreciation of Western electronic music and pop alongside a thorough grounding in Arabic musical traditions.
For the new record, Altas had ambitious intentions: “What I hope I have achieved is to match the lyricism of classical music with the inherent poetry of Arabic, I wanted to continue the exploration of grounds covered with Ana Hina. Through the juxtaposition of western classical string sections with traditional Arabic instruments, classical Arabic poetry against abstract impressionism, traditional Arabic percussion with smoky jazz kits… To create a melange of ideas and examined opposites. What I attempt to convey is a sense of reversal… Reversal of the state of society, reversal in our political and belief systems, reversal of spirituality in favour of materialism.”
Mounqaliba will release 21 September via Six Degrees Records and today we have the pleasure of premiering “Makaan”.