Natacha Atlas and the Mazeeka Ensemble

Ana Hina

BY Claire Marie BlausteinPublished Jul 25, 2008

Instead of her usual merging of Middle Eastern and North African music with electronic beats, Natacha Atlas creates an electrifying musical experience in a completely acoustic setting. Backed by a bevy of talented musicians and producer Harvey Brough, Ana Hina reinterprets classic tunes by Egyptian composer Abdel Halim Hafez and Libyan legend Fairuz, using Atlas’s delicate vocals in a cinematic and lush musical collaboration. The echoing voices and accordion in "Beny Ou Benak Eik” are nearly visible in their warbling recitation. Swinging bass and organ open "Hayati Inta Reprise (Hayatak Ana)” and are met by Atlas gently tripping along a smoky melody. American folk song "Black is the Colour” is sung with a slight Middle Eastern cast, with only piano and strings for backing, though oddly it’s one of the only times her vocals feel overpowered, lost in the tapestry of the music. Created with care and obvious talent, this is a musical experience to be treasured.
(World Village)

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