Mario Crispi
Cous Cous (

CD cover Generally when you say that someone's full of hot air, it's considered to be an insult. But on Mario Crispi's new solo album Soffi (literally 'puffs' or "blows' in English) it's a positive boon. Especially when the hot air in question can be heard coursing through wind instruments from all over the world including the ney (Persian, Turkish and Arabian), the selijefloyte from Lapland, the North African zummara, the Sardinian launeddas, the Egyptian arghoul, the Balkan clarinet, the Andean antara and sikus, the Turkish duduk, the Sicilian marranzanu, and the Australian didjeridoo. But this is no dry academic exercise. Crispi, a co-founding member of the group Agricantus, literally breathes life into this project with stunning results.

"Vientu 'I Rina"
Far and away the best cut is "Vientu 'I Rina" which in my bad Babelfish translation of the Italian liner notes comes out as "free inspiration from a song of miners of sulfur." It is a wonderfully atmospheric mix of Persian Ney and full throated Sicilian vocals.
(full song)
"Gasbah" features a duet between didjeridoo and gasbah, a reed instrument used throughout rural Algeria, again with an old meets new approach that seems to span continents.

It is ironic that a CD filled with such ancient instruments would sound so contemporary, or even futuristic. This is music from everywhere for anywhere, the perfect antidote to mass-market induced media fatigue on a cold rainy day. -Eric Iverson

Available at cdRoots

More music from Italy

Photo: Sitoh (Spain)
Audio ©2000 CNI Music, Italy, used by permission

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