Born to a conservative Berber family in the Atlas Mountains region of Morocco, Najat Aâtabu moved to Casablanca at the age of 17 to seek her fortune as a singer. She soon cut a cassette that would eventually sell close to half a million copies. This collection of songs from 1995 (plus a few earlier tracks) continues the pace in both sales and quality. With her raw and impassioned voice commanding a swirl of call-and-response singing, Aâtabu lets loose on subjects ranging from women's equal rights, to love's travails, to the pain of loss. She's enveloped in a driving, acoustic backdrop featuring such traditional Moroccan-Berber-Gnawan instruments as the tarija drum, the tambourine-like tar, the oud, the rebab violin, and the deep-toned gumbri guitar. A star in both the Maghreb area of West Africa (taking in Morocco and several outlying countries) and Europe, Aâtbou is one of the most stunning talents to emerge from the modern milieu of traditional African-Arabic music.