It’s the early 1990s. Drum and bass are two separate things. Club music and live music exist in two separate universes. Bhangra is omnipresent and unknown at one and the same time. Reggae and dub are half-forgotten sub genres. If you want to find any Arabic music in London there’s a guy with a stall at Shepherds Bush Market and that’s about it. Every music genre is parcelled up, labelled up, and kept in it’s own yard as far as possible from any other.
This compilation celebrates a rebellion against the musical divisions of those days, tells the story of how it happened and what happened next.
It all started with a bunch of disgruntled musicians, singers, DJ, writers and sampler geeks hanging round the cramped offices of West London label Nation Records. Primitive computers were stretched to their full possibilities, beaten up analogue synths kept working by screwdrivers and willpower, mashed up cassettes and turntables serviced a concoction of club grooves, dub, bhangra, rock, digital hardcore and oriental melody stirred at random, relying on inspiration and a massive belief in the need to create something new.
Transglobal Underground came out of this, an ever shifting line-up that at first created confusion and astonishment and then a lot of attention and success…firstly due to the club scene’s move into ambient and trance areas, and secondly the focal point of Natacha Atlas as chief vocalist.
Atlas had spent years struggling to be understood and accepted, scraping a living dancing in cabarets in Brussels and the midlands and guesting with the few artists who understood what she was trying to do. But now she was in her element. Bellydancing round club stages while deftly skipping over piles of MIDI cables in high heels and singing flawlessly in Arabic at the same time, she caused a massive stir. No one had seen or heard anything like her on UK stages before.
The impact of those shows led to a solo deal and a touring schedule during which first Transglobal Underground, and later Natacha herself, were stretched beyond even their considerable levels of stamina. As her electronica/oriental mix went platinum across Europe, TGU moved into the background on the production of her music while continuing their own path.
But the team continued to collaborate on film projects, oriental dance shows and regular live reunions with either Natacha guesting with TGU or vice versa…and, to this day they still do, keeping alive a shared vision that crosses every musical boundary they come across but still retains a sound and a vibe totally individual, even after all this time.
On Tour in 2018
More than 23 years after they put a new outline into the British musical map, the original fusionists Transglobal Underground will be marking the occasion in 2018. The collective that first fused club culture and world music into a whole new onstage experience will be on tour reuniting some of the most important musicians involved back in the day, and releasing a compilation celebrating TGU’s longterm relationship with original vocalist Natacha Atlas whose own solo career is over 20 years old and has spanned oriental music, electronica and jazz.
Along with Natacha Atlas, the original bassist/guitarist/producer Dubulah, best known for his his work with Dub Colossus, and percussionst/rapper Goldfinger, a mainstay of Ian Browns band and the Winachi Tribe, will be joining forces with vocalist/storyteller TUUP, drummer Hamid Mantu and machinist Tim Whelan.
The compilation, “Destination Overground” contains tracks from the original releases Natacha sang on with TGU, along with other work they’ve done since, including 3 new or unreleased tracks. It comes out in France this November to mark the Orginal Line-up’s French autumn tour, and will be released in the UK in March.
Natacha ATLAS (FR) A unique vocalist of multiple origins, Natacha first worked in the UK with Invader of the Heart before coming prominence in the 1990s with TGU’s first 4 albums. She launched her solo career, with the TGU produced album ‘Diaspora’ which combined a dance-dub mix with traditional Arabic melodies. Her third, the platinum selling “Gedida’ included her version of ‘Mon Amie La Rose’ which made her an icon in France and won a Victoires de la Musique award in 1999. During her career she’s mixed hindi pop, drum and bass, rai, French chanson, worked with Jean Michel Jarre, Nittin Sawney, Sting, Peter Gabriel, Belinda Carlisle and Franco Lebanese trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf which heralded a move into jazz in 2015. Although leaving the group in 1999, Natacha has continued to appear on special occasions with TGU ever since.
TUUP (The Unorthodox, Unprecedented Preacher) has been creative lyricist, poet, percussionist and vocalist with Transglobal Underground, appearing on every official release. has been a professional storyteller since 1981. Truly an elder of the storytelling revival in Britain, his style is one of total improvisation, unbounded charisma and alarming spontaneity TUUP has travelled the world extensively, telling stories all over Europe and in both Northern and Southern Africa, working and recording in South Africa and Lesotho at the outset of the post-apartheid era.
GOLDFINGER One of the original members of the Nation Records team, Goldfinger worked both with the original TGU lineup and Asian hiphop band Fun^Da^Mental, who achieved critical acclaim by winning Best Newcomer “Innovation” Award in 1992. In 1993 he created anew group named “Detrimental” who became winners of the Rappers of the Year award 1994. Goldfinger then joined Manchester icon Ian Brown on his solo journey and played as part of his live band until 2009. Goldfinger also develops musical compositions with independent Television companies to incorporate and fuse various music styles, one of which was the Black Bag series, which won the Documentaries Award 1993.
HAMID MANTU Drummer, programmer DJ and producer Mantu has been a part of, Transglobal Underground since it’s inception in 1991. He has co-produced 3 albums by the Natacha Atlas and has toured extensively around the world , including a European tour with Page and Plant. He co-produced the 2012 Olympics ‘River of Music’ live project, involving musicians from the seven Gulf States. He also produced the EU grant funded project UNITE which involved an album and tour with musical partners from all around Europe. Currently he’s constantly in demand in London as both a live and studio drummer.
DUBULAH (Bass, guitar) Starting out as a founder member of Transglobal Underground he has since worked with many world music and other artists such as Syriana, Rizwan Muazzam Qawwali, Jah Wobble, Reggae Philharmonic Orchestra and many more. Most notably he leads his own Ethiodub/jazz fusion act Dub Colussus, who recorded their first album Ethiopia and went on to win the Songlines best album award 2013 FOR “Dub Me Tender.” His most recent project is the Greek fusion project Xaos,
which premiered at the WOMAD festival this year.
TIM WHELAN One of the founders of Transglobal Underground, Tim was an experienced keyboard player producer and DJ before becoming part of the project and went on to co-produce most of Natacha Atlas’ early solo work. Has also worked with Page and Plant and the Imagined Village, was DJ in residence at the Bellyfusions Festival, in Paris and Global Headfunk in London, and keyboard player in residence at ‘Mix Ta Race’ in Paris. To date he is the only person ever to win a Heavy Metal Grammy for playing Arabic keyboards (for ‘Most High’ by Jimmy Page and Robert Plant).