Sunday, January 28, 2018

Najat Aâtabou - Attention a Monsieur (2000)

Watch out, Mister! Najat Aâtabou sez: jealousy and suspicion will give you high blood pressure!

This album dates from 2000. It wasn't a huge success, but I enjoyed it at the time, especially the title track. In those days, Najat Aatabou was married to musician/producer Hassan Dikouk, who produced some of her hits of the 90s including the great 1996 smash Mali Ana Ma ândi Zhar. I believe the relationship had its ups and downs before they eventually divorced. (According to this 2016 interview with Dikouk, they split in 2002. However, they were still performing together as late as this clip from New Year's 2004-5.) This album apparently comes from one of the down times - she actually calls out Hassan by name at the end of verse one, substituting "A Hassan" for the anonymous "A Monsieur" (2:14).

The album, like most of Najat's, 1990s albums, has a mainstream chaâbi sound to it: viola, keyboards, and darbuka support her always strong vocals, along with a male response choir. I don't know why she chose to move away from the oud- and bendir-driven sounds that characterized her earlier albums. Whatever it was, her 1992 album in that vein was wildly successful, containing the smash Hadi Kedba Bayna, and subsequent albums followed a similar format. (That album used to be available on CD, but seems to be long out of print. Perhaps I'll digitize my tape copy for y'all - it's a good one!)

Najat Aâtabou - نجاة اعتابو
Attention a Monsieur - أطونسيو أمسيو
Edition Sonya Disque cassette T.C. 1780 (2000)
1) Attention a Monsieur أطونسيو أمسيو / Avec Moi أڤيك موا
2) A Lalla Hadri ‘Aynik ألالة حدري عينيك / Mali ‘ala Hali ماي على حالي
3) Bla Ma Tkdeb ‘Aliya بلا ماتكدب علي
4) Moulay ‘Abdellah Ben Hsein عبد الله بن احسين
5) Nta Lli Hayrtini أنت اللي حيرتيني

Get it all here.