Renzo Ruggiero – Alma (Phenix 001, 2017)
Alma is the new album by Italian santur virtuoso Renzo Ruggiero. Alma is a beautifully-crafted work featuring spirited world music instrumental pieces rooted in Mediterranean, Spanish and Middle Eastern melodies along with dreamy slow tempo, trance-like pieces. All the compositions are originals by Ruggiero except for a 12th century song and a Gurdieff-De Hartmann piece.
Ruggiero currently lives in Toledo, the ancient city in central Spain, not far from Madrid, that has become a home to many artists. An international cast of talented instrumentalists join Ruggiero on the album.
The lineup on Alma includes Renzo Ruggiero on santur, acoustic bass guitar, vocals, nyckelharpa, steel tongue drums, percussion, sound design; Javier Paxariño (Spain) on saxello and bansuri; Hames Bitar (Syria) on oud; Susana Shiava (Spain) on Tibetan singing bowls; and Anna Sato (Japan); Amable Rodríguez (Spain) on guitar; and Michele Carreca (Italy) on guitar and theorbo.
Alma is a mesmerizing work that showcases the talent and versatility of Renzo Ruggiero and his multi-faceted santur.