oriental sound of the new millennium is here! If you love traditional oriental
music blending rai, reggae, funk and Latino beats, you mustn't miss Sawt El
Atlas. And if you're not yet into that kind of music, you will be soon!
1996, after more than 200 gigs, they released their first CD, entitled Généraliser
(Generalising). It was a lively album swept along by its Arabic-French lyrics,
which were deliberately positive even when they attacked the precarious nature
of everyday social integration:
"Que tu sois chômeur, balayeur, ingénieur que tu sois un blanc, un black, ou un beur Sache qu'il n'y a pas de différence, ni de préférence, ici on danse"
"Whether you're on the dole, a street sweeper or an engineer, Whether you're white, black, or Arab, Remember there's no difference, no preference: here, we dance..."
And when they hear clichés
about the council estates, Sawt El Atlas reply: "We're an answer, not
the problem...". 1999, Sawt El Atlas signed to Sony's Small label and
in October, they released a new, enthusiastic and firmly mature album, mainly
sung in Arabic, but with some French too. They began to record Donia in Paris,
in the studio of Sodi, the producer of Les Negresses Vertes, Femi Kuti and
I Am, but it was completed in Cairo, the crossroads of modern Arabic music.
Donia was mixed by Carmen Rizzo who has worked with Prince, Khaled and Zebda
among others. The generous nature of singer-songwriters Kamel and Mounir,
aged 22 and 21 respectively, has combined with their brothers' talent and
the background of the other musicians to produce a perfect blend of oriental
roots and modern groove. This time, the album's lyrics focus on the world's
most universal theme: love. Donia's twelve songs are a hymn to love, respectively
devoted to mothers, couples, people in general, life and God. All were written
as original pop songs: the radio-friendly first single Ne Me Jugez-Pas (Don't
judge me), the oriental jungle of Ness featuring Natacha Atlas, a long-time
friend of the band, the flamenco leanings of Andalucia, the groove-reggae
of Datna and the eponymous single, Donia...
Sawt El Atlas have a final comment. "We want to export this unusual oriental
music. The album is dedicated to people who are short of exoticism and warmth.
They may find themselves swept away when they listen to it..." Sawt El
Atlas means "Voices of the Atlas" and Donia "world"...
Obviously an international invitation!an international invitation!
Interview Sawt el Atlas
"Highly recommended" Froots
"It all sounds outrageously commercial in the best possible way"