First guesting with Transglobal Underground in 1991, in 1993 she became a member of the core quartet, as lead singer and belly-dancer (the latter not some kind of limp tourist-pleasing wiggle but the real raq sharki). A couple of years later, it was the band’s Tim Whelan, Hamid ManTu and Nick Page (a.k.a. Count Dubulah, now of Temple of Sound) who encouraged and helped her to make her first solo album, Diaspora. Produced and largely co-written with Natacha by Tim, Hamid and Nick, it combined the dubby, beat-driven global dance approach of Transglobal with the more traditional work of Arabic musicians such as Tunisian singer-songwriter Walid Rouissi and Natacha's uncle, Egyptian composer and oud-master Essam Rashad. The critically acclaimed result naturally, intelligently and excitingly combined Middle Eastern and Western musics in a way never heard before; Middle Eastern producers and musicians didn't know how to make music that retained their character but would reach a western audience, while Western producers until then hadn't sufficiently understood and empathised with the ways of Middle Eastern music.

The song not on any of the albums is a surprising rendition of John Barry and Leslie Bricusse's James Bond theme You Only Live Twice, produced and arranged in the Atlas version by today's feted inheritor of Barry's Bond-composer mantle, David Arnold, with whom she's worked on the soundtracks of Stargate, The World Is Not Enough and Die Another Day.

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6/26/2022 10:49:50 PM
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Natacha Atlas