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Natacha Atlas

The former singer and belly dancer for the multi-culti '90s clique Transglobal Underground is of Egyptian descent, but grew up in Belgium and the U.K. To date she has produced six solo albums -- Diaspora, Halim, Gedida, the featured Ayeshateni, Foretold in the Language of Dreams (a collaboration with co-producer Marc Eagleton), and most recently, Something Dangerous (on which she works with Princess Julianna, Sinead O'Connor, and others). Atlas's musical evolution has paralleled her physical journeys, which have seen her tour and record throughout Europe, always returning to her ancestral hometown, Cairo. There she continues to be influenced by "shaabi," the indigenous Egyptian pop that permeates that city, and by the Arabic language itself. Yet her music refuses to fit into the tidy worldbeat niche.

Atlas's lyrics float effortlessly between Arabic, French, and English, while her production, aided by such collaborators as Eagleton, Tim Whelan, Hamid Mantu, Andy Gray, and Underworld's Mike Nielsson spans Arabic strings and intricate Oud and percussive arrangements, sitar-inflected breakbeats, dub basslines, and a plethora of European and North African instrumentation.

These instrumental elements are wound together with the full array of electronic production techniques, resulting in mood music that evokes a trés Euro lounge session, with a sheesha water pipe and an assortment of flavored tobacco products close at hand.

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