Liverpool L2

She pours life into [B]Frangois Hardy[/B]'s [B]'Mon Amie La Rose'[/B] and the room seems to spin as all that sadness is expunged...

A long, rocky road has taken [a]Natacha Atlas[/a] to this point, but her famous voice doesn’t show the strain.

From belly-dancing with Jah Wobble’s Invaders Of The Heart to being the foundation stone that Trans-Global Underground was built on, she has been determined to bring the Middle East westwards (and vice versa). Once, she was going to change the world, now she’s waiting for the world to change.

Others would be bitter, but she is not even frustrated to be showcasing new work to people who talk over a music that, when quietened, is sometimes so devotional and ancient that it requires awe. But those are the breaks. You can’t force people to behave. And no-one can detract from the power of the Egyptian strings – which swoop over breakbeats and other rhythmic constructs (old-skool hip-hop tune ‘It Takes Two’ by Rob Base & E-Z Rock, at one point) with dizzying gusto.

The musicians, mostly middle-aged, stay in the shadows as the voice takes centre-stage. Atlas demonstrates Arabic scales to a (by now) incredulous crowd and leaves people gobsmacked by technique. She pours life into Frangois Hardy‘s ‘Mon Amie La Rose’ and the room seems to spin as all that sadness is expunged. And most people are finally and firmly convinced that no matter how hard they try, they can’t do – or replicate – what she does.