Yesterday I attended the Natacha Atlas concert at the “Store VEGA” venue in Copenhagen.
I first heard of Natacha Atlas less than 2 months ago, and since then I’ve been sort of obsessing on her, but I hadn’t really heard any of her music except on Last.fm, that was until yesterday.
The concert had been moved from the smaller Lille VEGA due to high demand, and you can understand why.
The concert was part of the “Images of the Middle East” event, and you can’t really think of anyone better than Natacha Atlas to represent the fusion of cultures, she’s labelled herself, according to Wikipedia, as a “human version of the Gaza strip”, due to her multi-cultural background, and the conflicts that has created in her mind.
This time Natacha Atlas was bringing a predominantly acoustic ensemble, drums, cello, violin, guitar, flute and Fender Rhodes.
Natacha was concentrating on Arabic songs, most of them examples of fusion of the music styles of the west and the east, something she pioneered, but it’s been going on for centuries, just think of the south of Spain.
The mixture of West and The Middle East is a perfect fit, since the classic tradition of both music cultures really aren’t that different, but the use of more complex rhythms and especially the use of the voice as an instrument is something that is lacking in traditional western music.
Well Natacha you gave me the chills, it’s not often I’ve experienced this feeling at a concert, but what great musicians with your voice being the most beautiful sounding instrument of them all. Several times you had improvised duets with the musicians, and it was just beautiful.
It hard to pick any highlights from the concert, because it was all good, and several times I drifted into trance like state, but the several minutes long drum solo, where the audience joined in was indeed a highlight, the interpretation of “Black is the colour of my true love” was impressive, and the song that was played twice (one of the encores – I didn’t get the title), was a tribute to one of the most popular Arabic singers ever, Abdel Halim Hafez.
Store VEGA is a great venue, but I think that this performance would have been even better at a smaller venue, but the contact with the audience was nevertheless quite exceptional.
Final note: Natacha you’re everything Madonna would like to be. The “real” Madonna, or dare I say Isis graced Copenhagen yesterday, and I truly loved it. This was one of the greatest concerts I’ve ever attended.