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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars On top of the world
Although a very singular work, "Ana Hina" calls to mind a number of unique (and very different) albums including Bim Sherman's re-recording of a number of his old songs in the acoustic reggae-meets- Bollywood "Miracle" album, Joanna Newsom's "Ys" in which the baroque ornateness of Van Dyke Parkes met Steve Albini's minimalism with wonderful results and, thirdly, the Greek...
Published on 22 July 2008 by degrant

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5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars unspirited
Yes, the review published above (from Songlines) is right enough: the arrangements here are restrained and 'tasteful'. And also her singing...but too much so, for my taste. It's all rather genteel and delicately done: the result is so low-key that it becomes inanimate and unspirited. At her best, Atlas has been a terrific lead for the transglobal projects, but the...
Published on 30 Jun 2008 by Paul Callick


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars On top of the world, 22 July 2008
This review is from: Ana Hina - Natacha Atlas (Audio CD)
Although a very singular work, "Ana Hina" calls to mind a number of unique (and very different) albums including Bim Sherman's re-recording of a number of his old songs in the acoustic reggae-meets- Bollywood "Miracle" album, Joanna Newsom's "Ys" in which the baroque ornateness of Van Dyke Parkes met Steve Albini's minimalism with wonderful results and, thirdly, the Greek singer Savina Yannatou's Primevera en Salonico disc "Sumiglia" which showcases songs from Greece, Corsica, Italy, Sicily, Galicia, Palestine, Albania, Bulgaria, Armenia, Moldavia and the Ukraine. Like Yannatou, Atlas celebrates the differences between various musical traditions while highlighting their commonality.

"Ana Hina" is, however, also very different from these recordings as Atlas and Ensemble re-record some of her old songs, showcase new ones and interpret traditionals and cover principally Lebanese and Egyptian famous songs. This diverse selection is embellished with varied instrumentation which is full of colour and texture while Atlas's voice is at her most emotive and, even in the saddest numbers, there is a greater warmth than on any previous Atlas recording.

Although the highlights are too many to name, from the opening Lebanese song "Ya Laure Habouki" (Oh, Laure my love to you), the standout for me is the only song in English, the traditional "Black is the Colour", variously claimed as Irish, Scottish and Appalachian, which shames a host of mawkish versions by "authentic" Celtic artists. It is a slowburner par excellence, full of dignity, restraint and pure emotion.

Elsewhere "Hayati Inta (Reprise)" is a fantastic reworking of a track which appears on Atlas's "Mishmaoul" album reinvented as (to quote the informative liner notes) "The Doors meets Mingus meets Miss Atlas" as a wickedly noir-esque bass collides with energetic accordion.

I would like to think that this album would appeal to anyone with a genuine and open-minded interest in music. It is has a richness and maturity in which playfulness and vitality are not sacrificed, a rare combination in world, jazz, fusion, pop, traditional and every other form or genre of music. This deserves to be a huge hit with critics and the music-buying public alike.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ana hina, 9 Mar 2009
This review is from: Ana Hina - Natacha Atlas (Audio CD)
A slight departure from previous, but still compelling. Another truly excellent piece of work from this highly underrated artist, in my opinion the finest of all vocalists. The Union Chapel concert was quite amazing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Should be a Household Name!, 5 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Ana Hina - Natacha Atlas (Audio CD)
I heard about Natacha Atlas for the first time when she released Ana Hina, either on Radio 4s: "Womans Hour" or 3s: "Late Junction" or maybe both. Sometimes you hear an artist and you know in an instant that you must possess the music. Ana Hina was the next album that I purchased. This lady really has the voice of an angel, there is no other description which would do her justice, and just like a grand master running their own school of art, she has surrounded herself throughout her career with the finest musicians, from all over the place, in a myriad of styles of utmost beauty. On this album she has gone for a folky sound and has assembled musicians from all over the Middle East and North Africa. I seem to remember from the interview that she recorded it in either Willesden or Harlesden. Lucky us! When I say folk, I don't just mean from one place. "La Vida Collada" is a Mexican (revolutionary) song, presented in the most perfect, breathtaking harmony you will ever hear. If that doesn't blow you away, then first listen to the old scottish ballad "Black is the Colour" (of my loved one's hair), first on Paul Weller's album of covers and then on Ana Hina. Man, this lady really grabs my heart and gives it a squeeze! I am proud to say I am a fan! I've even written to the Royal Festival Hall on the Southbank and asked them to feature her and her band! (So, Yoko, if you read this, Pleeease!) Sadly, I cannot give you a rundown on either instruments or styles due to my ignorance. Suffice to say, I now own Mounqaliba, Mishmaoul, Ayeshteni, Foretold in the Language of Dreams, Something Dangerous and the greatest hits "Best of", which we actually played at this year's family Christmas party. For my money, the greatest (generally undiscovered) artist in the world at the moment. Everybody I have introduced to Ms Atlas's music has loved it, and this purchase was for my daughter, who had expressed her appreciation for this great artist. I don't know what else to say apart from if this album doesn't grab you then you're probably made of stone!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ha Ha!!!, 28 Sep 2010
This review is from: Ana Hina - Natacha Atlas (Audio CD)
And I thought the last album was great!
This woman just gets better and better - ok, so I am bias as I have been a huge fan for years and years and years, but the quality here is just......

Oh just go and buy it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Just an appreceation, 9 July 2009
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This review is from: Ana Hina - Natacha Atlas (Audio CD)
The first time I heard this disc I was in New Zealand. The melody and singing intrigued me. I just had to have this disc. The melody and the voices and the ensamble are haunting in their style. deffinately a must for ones collection
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Voyage into a land of dreams, 7 July 2008
This review is from: Ana Hina - Natacha Atlas (Audio CD)
I do not speak Arabic, Perhaps I should. Because I do think that in today's multicultural world one should make an effort to familiarize oneself with the cultural accomplishments of our fellow citizens in the global village. That is why I appreciate Ms Atlas; she's an intriguing figure : a child of our time and space,a Eurab one could say, unashamedly picking from the various musical heritages she's been exposed too. Strangely she is now being accused of not being "spirited" enough.
As far as I'm concerned this is a lovely piece of work. Spirit of adventure, poetry and a dreamlike other worldliness is what this CD is about. Yes, this is a more classical musician type project, but what is wrong with that?.
From the very first notes from Harvey Brough's piano and the Mazeeka string section in Ya Laure Hobouki you are waltzed away in a wonderland of warmth and lusciousness.
The tango flavoured Beny Ou Benak Eih follows and one can imagine oneself in the Cairo of King Farouk. A breathy version of Black is the Colour inspired by Nina Simone is another highlight. To be honest, there is just not a bad track on this CD.
Throughout the liner notes reference is made to the Lebanese singer Fairuz. I do not know her work. Perhaps I should acquaint myself with it!
I'm going to play this a lot more over the next weeks. Moreover, I hope Natacha Atlas will continue on this path.
Five stars, definitely!
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5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars unspirited, 30 Jun 2008
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Paul Callick (manchester) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ana Hina - Natacha Atlas (Audio CD)
Yes, the review published above (from Songlines) is right enough: the arrangements here are restrained and 'tasteful'. And also her singing...but too much so, for my taste. It's all rather genteel and delicately done: the result is so low-key that it becomes inanimate and unspirited. At her best, Atlas has been a terrific lead for the transglobal projects, but the material on this CD is pretty ordinary stuff and the delivery lacks spark.
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Ana Hina - Natacha Atlas
Ana Hina - Natacha Atlas by Natacha Atlas (Audio CD - 2008)
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