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ANIMA MUNDI

Symphonic Prog • Cuba


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Anima Mundi biography

Hailing from Cuba, ANIMA MUNDI have always combined prog sounds with other music genres and used instruments that are uncommon for rock. Echoes of Celtic, Cuban, New Age, and Symphonic Rock music can be clearly distinguished.

On the 2002 debut album "Septentrion", ANIMA MUNDI's band members consist of Roberto Diaz on electric & acoustic guitars, Virginia Peraza on keyboards, programming, Ariel Valdes on drums & percussion, Ariel Angel on bass, Andremil Oropeza on lead vocals, Regis Rodrigues on bagpipes, recorder, & whistle, Anaisy Gomez on bagpipes, recorder, & clarinet. The followup album "Jagannath Orbit" was released in 2008 with a different band lineup; Yaroski Corredera on bass, Osvaldo Vieites on drums, and Carlos Sosa on lead vocals joining the regular lineup. This album featured guest musicians; Javier Mauri on percussion, recorder, Donna Betancourt on bassoon, and Jacobo García on didgeridoo.

In 2010 the band released "The Way" with 4 tracks one of which is a 26 and a half minute epic, "Spring Knocks on the Door of Men". This time the lineup was new with Virginia Peraza (keyboards), Roberto Díaz (lead guitar & vocals), Yaroski Corredera (bass guitar), Manuel Govin (drums) and Carlos Sosa (also vocals) and as guests Mónica Acosta (bassoon), Yailin Martinez (flute) and Javier Mauri (percussion). In 2013 the next album "The Lamplighter" saw the light of day featuring 2 Suites and an Epilogue clocking a total of 53 minutes. The band again changed with Emmanuel Pirko-Farrath on vocals, Roberto Díaz on guitars, Virginia Peraza on keyboards, Yaroski Corredera on bass and José Manuel Govin on drums.

The band have released undoubtedly some of the best Symphonic Progressive Rock albums from Cuba, namely "Septentrion". On this debut there are also nice intermixes of Celtic influences within the overall structure which add a wonderful sense of ambiance. There are 12 tracks (5 instrumental) and one can get lost in the overall multi-layering of the music. 2010's "The Way" has also gained some high ratings from reviewers. AMINA MUNDI are highly recommended for Symphonic Prog fans.

UPDATED 2014 ---AtomicCrimsonRush (Scott Tuffnell)---
UPDATED Dec. 2015 -- Quinino and E&O Team -----------

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Audio CD$12.84
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The WayThe Way
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ANIMA MUNDI discography


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ANIMA MUNDI top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.46 | 48 ratings
Septentrión
2002
3.79 | 97 ratings
Jagannath Orbit
2008
4.05 | 204 ratings
The Way
2010
3.79 | 113 ratings
The Lamplighter
2013
5.00 | 1 ratings
I Me Myself
2016

ANIMA MUNDI Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.63 | 8 ratings
Live in Europe
2012

ANIMA MUNDI Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.50 | 2 ratings
Live in Europe
2012

ANIMA MUNDI Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

ANIMA MUNDI Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

ANIMA MUNDI Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Septentrión by ANIMA MUNDI album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.46 | 48 ratings

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Septentrión
Anima Mundi Symphonic Prog

Review by poito

3 stars This is one of the few prog bands in Cuba, where composers have to turn need into a virtue. Th taste for music is rather narrow, as in most central/south American countries, it is not a particular feature of Cuba. The founder members Roberto Diaz and Virginia Peraza, guitar and keys, had a hard time to find musicians with interest and skills out of ethnic/regional mainstream. Somehow, they found a bagpipe player that made an essential contribution to the music, to the point of making the album to appear as a Celtic album. The music is not Celtic, anyway, but is difficult to read underneath bagpipes. This instrument is a winner take all and it really gets to bore after a while. I think they adapted the music to what they had at hands. The creativity of Roberto/Virginia will be appreciated in subsequent albums, where bagpipes are at a minimum. The music has a fast bit and soft cheerful melodies, with some nice keys and guitar riffs hard to find under bagpipes. It all reminds quite to Spaniard bagpiper Carlos Nuñez. The singing also reminds to Spaniards folk-rock bands. This album may be of interest for lovers of ethnic rock fusion. Some enjoyable tracks are Horizontes, Peregrino del Tiempo, and Tierra Invisible.

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 The Way by ANIMA MUNDI album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.05 | 204 ratings

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The Way
Anima Mundi Symphonic Prog

Review by poito

4 stars After listening to the former albums of the band, this was quite a surprise. The former JAGANNATH was music made in a rush, lots of fast bits glued together without a moment of rest; stressing indeed. This album has entirely different mood. It is made of four long compositions that have been carefully planned, including a 26 min long suite. Each still has tons of musical elements, but much better assembled. Here, there are musical bridges that prepare one for the next wave, instead of the former impatient jumps. The percussion, not being extraordinary, has improved notably; at least it accompanies the music, but there is still plenty of room for creativity there. The musical values are excellent, still with many ticks from Yes and derivatives, but with enough contribution from their own. The fast pace and high-spirited mood is still a trademark of the band. That is good for a change; there is too much competition in the dark side of symphonic prog. My favorite is Flying to the Sun, it is the more compact and simple, and includes a beautiful and refreshing passage combining church organ and bass. The few excerpts with voices can still be skipped; singing is not Roberto's strength, and this music does not require any. The overall bombastic mood may overwhelm a bit, it enters better in low doses; globally, it is an enjoyable symphonic piece.

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 Jagannath Orbit by ANIMA MUNDI album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.79 | 97 ratings

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Jagannath Orbit
Anima Mundi Symphonic Prog

Review by poito

3 stars There is a slow passage in the middle of the first track We Are The Light that makes me think these guys could make their music more enjoyable. I came to them out of curiosity; a Cuban prog band appeared to be a good adventure for my ears this weekend. Their music is full of influences, all Anglo-Saxon by the way, (a missed opportunity) but wears an excessively energetic dress that blurs somewhat the compositional effort. It sounds as if they are in a hurry. I guess the Caribbean soul cannot be slowed down. This first 17 min long track contains lots of different musical motifs bound without any intermission for rest, all fast-paced. That was a mistake in my opinion. And it is the general trend all throughout. There is little time to relax and enjoy. The music is varied and high-spirited but there is something wrong with it, I think the problem is an excessive use of pre-arranged instrumental bits and clichés, without a strong musical idea behind to unite them all. It's as if they compose with arrangements. The percussion section is Pop-dull, the drums add nothing, that's a bad sin for Cuban music. Voices can also be improved. If only there were some new musical propositions? Only the title track has some bits of new land to explore, heavily watered with Yessistic motifs though. The two last tracks, a long instrumental Rhythm of the Spheres and a sung Sanctuary are the best, much more equilibrated and crafted in a way that you can listen to them several times without stress.

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 Jagannath Orbit by ANIMA MUNDI album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.79 | 97 ratings

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Jagannath Orbit
Anima Mundi Symphonic Prog

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Anima Mundi are a symphonic prog band from Cuba, though if you search for them on iTunes, you'll find another band of more experimental and eclectic sounds with the same name. The Cuban band has been around since the mid-nineties and released four studio albums, the first in Spanish and the others in English.

In an interview I read with keyboardist Virginia Peraza, she explained the great difficulties facing a band from Cuba: recording studios not being on par with those in more advanced countries, equipment often being bought second or third hand, and restrictions on what foreign music is permitted in the country. If I recall correctly, it was after this album, "Jagannath Orbit" that a Russian label picked up the band and they got a lot of promotion in Europe and went over to play in some music festivals. From then on, the band's fortunes changed as their music became better known internationally.

According to song writer and band leader Roberto Diaz, the band wanted to play music like the grand symphonic prog bands of the seventies but also have a strong spiritual message in their music. The name Anima Mundi comes from a concept by Plato and means Spirit of the World. True enough, their music is similar to what Jon Anderson- led Yes could produce but somehow even grander and more uplifting.

The Wikipedia article on the band describes their music as a combination of, "symphonic rock, new age, Celtic, space music and traditional Cuban influences". That's a very accurate description of "Jagannath Orbit" to be sure. The band really covers all bases with grand symphonic prog passages, atmospheric and spacey moments, lively rocking parts, and one or two world music segments. You can't miss the didgeridoo in "Rhythm of the Spheres".

For a band who hail from a relatively poor country, their guitar and keyboard sounds fill all the expected sounds for a major prog band. Peraza's sound pallette includes a variety of synthesizer sounds, piano, organ, and Mellotron. Diaz's vocals suit the spiritual and optimistic lyrics very well, not an Anderson copy but he could have been a good choice as a Glass Hammer vocalist. In fact, though Yes and Glass Hammer comparisons are easy to make, I don't feel that Anima Mundi are trying to emulate those bands. The guitars, bass, and keyboards are in the style of those bands; however, I never feel that I'm listening to a Steve Howe or Chris Squire clone, unlike say Cathedral. Anima Mundi have captured the essence of a spiritually inspired symphonic prog band and managed to sound most like themselves.

If you like big, bold, and grandiose symphonic prog with some laid back atmospheric moments, Anima Mundi are worth looking into. They do the job very well, at least on this album and from what I've heard on the next album "The Way". They do long, multi-part songs very well, never relying on any one particular musical theme to carry the song for long. This is busy and excited music but doesn't sound like a medley either where transitions come every 12 bars for the sake of complexity. There's a sincerity to the busy-ness, a band excited about writing music like this in order to express themselves.

For my personal opinion, an entire album of this grand, spiritual, uplifting symphonic prog is a little too much. If you've ever felt that a Glass Hammer album simply exudes to the point of oozing a Christian message then this album has the same effect except without being specifically Christian. This is Jon Anderson territory for sure. Check out the song titles: "We Are the Light", "The Awaken Dreamer in the Soul Garden Dreams the Flower Planets", "Jagannath Orbit (in the Orbit of Love)". This is loose-fitting tunics and linen pants, barefoot and beads music. And that's where I find the album a little too much to take all at once. Each of the songs, long and short, are good and wonderful on their own. But all together in one sitting can make me tune out or hunger for something a little darker or more aggressive.

Still, this is a band worthy of including in the same sentence as Yes and Glass Hammer. If you're a fan of those bands, then Anima Mundi come highly recommended. Come to think of it, if Yes' "Heaven and Earth" had been more like this then it likely wouldn't have been slagged so badly.

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 The Lamplighter by ANIMA MUNDI album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.79 | 113 ratings

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The Lamplighter
Anima Mundi Symphonic Prog

Review by Progulator
Prog Reviewer

3 stars If you've got an itch for something that'll transport you back to the days of neo-prog, Anima Mundi's latest release, The Lamplighter, may be your ticket. These guys do a surprisingly good job at nailing a sort of Marillion vibe with some moments that even take you back to Gabriel-ish era Genesis, such as on "The Dream Child Behind the Mask." The structure of songs becomes a bit predictable overall, with a general focus on vocals and a sort of verse/chorus format, but this format seems slightly obscured (in a good way) by the dense atmosphere of synths (particularly the synth brass on songs like the quirky "The Call and Farewell Song" and "Endless Star," both of which additionally feature some piano work that feels very tone-poem- esque in nature. Additionally, Anima Mundi seems to have a knack for the haunting and ominous, as in the tron flutes opener to "On Earth Beneath the Stars," as well as the aforementioned "Endless Star." Some of these elements do get a bit overused, however, as is clear by the time we reach "The Human House." Luckily there are still some great moments on the record, such as the lovely folk/classical blend guitar motifs of "The Return Part 1″ and the variations on these by way of vocals in part two. Despite the fact that I'm not a huge fan of neoprog, I still enjoyed The Lamplighter due to the sort of serious feel of the album as a whole and perhaps the very dark moments which were very intriguing.

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 The Lamplighter by ANIMA MUNDI album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.79 | 113 ratings

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The Lamplighter
Anima Mundi Symphonic Prog

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars I just realized this band couple of months ago when a friend of mine recommended me to have listen to it. AT first I was not quite impressed with it as I found the mismatch which was quite obvious between the music and the vocal part at the beginning part of the album. This might be caused by my expectation the band would play something heavy as its name is quite similar with the opening track of Black Sabbath "Tyr" album called as Anno Mundi. I think the name has different meaning with the Black Sabbath one. Once I removed the image of heavy music then I started to appreciate the music even though still found the vocal is not quite powerful - not something prog, I think ...

The music of this album isa basically pure soft neo-prog music with long sustain keyboard solo and some guitar work in Floydian style. Obviously this is a concept album with major three movements and I started to enjoy the music as the second track The call and farewell song (6.20) unfolds. It's basically a typical soft or dragging neoprog with relatively slow tempo music. This is not something that I can enjoy day by day as I feel not having patience with its really slow movement of the music. I am not saying it's bad but I have to wait quite a long time to get the right passages. As I enjoy the music its entirety, I find the 7th track titles as Endless Star (10;38) is quite interesting. It's not because of the longest in term of duration, but I really enjoy how the music moves in ambient mode with long sustain keyboard work and stunning Floydian guitar work.

Overall, it's a good album from Cuba prog band Anima Mundi. The music is in the vein of something like Red Sand etc. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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 The Lamplighter by ANIMA MUNDI album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.79 | 113 ratings

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The Lamplighter
Anima Mundi Symphonic Prog

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions Team

3 stars Anima Mundi is a band that comes from Cuba. This fact alone would be enough to make you curious, and honestly, you should. Anima Mundi is a good band that's been around for over a decade and their new album The Lamplighter (2013) is their 4th. I was indeed curious about the band, I kind of missed their 'boat' along the way. I've listened to their debut album Septentrión (2002) but completely missed their next two albums: Jagannath Orbit (2008) and The Way (2010).

Now Anima Mundi has a new vocalist Emmanuel Pirko-Farrath and this is a fact that could make them even better. But to begin with I'll tell you that Eammanuel's vocals are... not there. His voice is far away from being a bad one, but the problem for me lies in his accent. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not a snobbish kind of guy that looks for the 'perfect english'. Being from a country that doesn't have English as its main language (Brazil) I struggle myself to not have a heavy accent. The problem isn't that, very often bands comes from different places with singers with a bit of accent and that's fine. In Anima Mundi's case is very hard to bear the accent and because of that the melody lines.

Now, when it comes to the music, The Lamplighter (2013) has everything correct. Symphonic Prog played with very good keyboards (the best feature on the album), good Gilmourish guitars, good bass lines and ok drumming. And as I was listening to the album I notice that is exactly that the biggest problem with The Lamplighter (2013), everything is 'correct' and 'good' but there's nothing on the album (with a few keyboard moments) that make me say 'oh yeah, now we're talking' or even get really excited about.

The 'Suite The Lamplighter' is nice and I particularly like the last song 'His Majesty Love'. Overall the feeling of 'ok, when they're going for more' stayed with me the whole time. Maybe it's not their kind of music, but I was always waiting for some challenge, for some more. And it never came. Maybe it's not MY kind of music, anyway, a good album, but not essential.

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 The Lamplighter by ANIMA MUNDI album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.79 | 113 ratings

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The Lamplighter
Anima Mundi Symphonic Prog

Review by Second Life Syndrome
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Anima Mundi is a band out of Cuba that plays wonderful symphonic prog rock, so I was extremely excited when they sent me a download of their latest album, "The Lamplighter". I was slightly wary, I do admit. Their previous album, "The Way", is one of my all-time favorite albums. The problem is that the vocalist, Carlos Sosa, from their first few albums is no longer with them, and so I always get a little worried when this happens. He just so happens to have one of my favorite voices. The new singer, Emmanuel Pirko-Farrath, is definitely different. Let me explain how this affects the album.

If there's one thing that Anima Mundi can do flawlessly, it's create incredible instrumental passages. Virginia Peraza is most certainly one of my favorite keyboardists, and one of the best in the business, too. She has an incredible way of creating keyboard lines that are bobbing, spacey, epic, sublime, and unexpected all at the same time. On this album, she is no different. In fact, I'd say she goes out on a limb a few times, but always succeeds. The guitarist, Roberto Diaz, is also a magician with his instrument. Soulful solos by the bucketful are the name of the game, and an almost exploratory vibe is felt throughout the album. Again, drummer Jose Govin and bassist Yarroski Corredera impress with their performances, too. This group of musicians are an amazing unit that works like a well-oiled machine.

Yet, with the addition of the new vocalist, I can't help but be slightly disappointed. Emmanuel has a good voice that is nearly the opposite of Carlos'. While Carlos had huge range and a soaring style that left my knees quaking, Emmanuel has more of a rich, mellow sound that feels almost jazzy at times. This is okay, but I have three problems with it. First of all, Emmanuel (as has been pointed out by other reviewers) does not have a commanding control of English. His enunciation is very poor at times, and he forgets parts of speech at times, too. This becomes distracting, thought I do admit it is not as bad as I feared it would be. It is there, though. Second, his voice does not fit the music. Anima Mundi is all about soaring melodies and spacey vibes, but Emmanuel's voice doesn't fit this mold at all. Like I said, he jazzy, not proggy. Lastly, I feel that the vocal melodies have suffered. Carlos was always taking the incredible music and blowing it through the roof with his pitch perfect, stunning vocal passages. Emmanuel seems to get by, just barely. The vocal melodies come off as awkward to the point where you just want him to be quiet so we can get back to the fantastic music. I don't say this to be cruel: I just want to be honest.

Overall, though, this is still an excellent album. In all honesty, it features probably only 25% vocals, so the disappointing vox don't drag the entire album down with them. The music is still inspired, and the theme of human hearts as interconnected lamps of love and enlightenment is intriguing. But I hope Emmanuel can work on his voice and on his English. I think he has promise, but I just don't know how he can compete with his predecessor. All in all, however, this is a great album still.

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 The Lamplighter by ANIMA MUNDI album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.79 | 113 ratings

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The Lamplighter
Anima Mundi Symphonic Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

3 stars I was really looking forward to the follow up of 'The Way', an album that stunned my senses rather surprisingly, not quite expecting a Cuban symphonic prog extravaganza to bowl me over. On first and second audition, I must concur with other reviewers who mentioned the rather odd vocals that grace this fresh release. Let's get one thing straight, the music is spectacular, stately and impossibly brilliant. Being multi-lingual, I appreciate anyone expressing themselves in some other language than their native tongue and I actually enjoyed previous vocalist Carlos Sosa whose accent was only slight but new singer Emmanuel Pirko-Farrath has no command of English whatsoever and sadly, what this does is that it distracts to the point of being too obvious. In view of German national Helmut Koellen's brilliant English language singing on Triumvirat's early albums, where he learnt phonetically to pronounce each lyric properly, I must criticize the choice of a singer who struggles so overtly. Sing in Spanish, hombre! You have a decent voice but mangled words are never enjoyable.

When the mood becomes instrumental, Anima Mundi are easily among the most technically proficient musicians out there, featuring a magnificent keyboardist in Virginia Peraza. She has a strong symphonic inclination by using a tremendous amount of mellotron, synthesizers, organ and piano colorations throughout the arrangements. Bassist Yaroski Corredera provides some expressive bottom ends and occasional runs that are truly defiant. The drums are expertly handled by Jose Manuel Govin, never an issue in Cuba where percussion is a state accepted religion. Guitarist and leader Roberto Diaz is a killer slinger, his searing leads and chugging riffs inspire with abandon and grace. The melodies are grandiose and kaleidoscopic, expertly entertaining and effortlessly complex. The poor vocals kill the joy, though. Unfortunately, they are not few and far between. On 'The Human House', one can plainly feel the ridiculousness of mispronounced words such as 'cam' instead of 'come'. Sorry, but it's unavoidable and they linger like a sour aftertaste. Yet elsewhere on this short track, the playing is superb, go figure!

The pain is best expressed by the woeful rendition of the lyrics on 'His Majesty love', its torture when the words do not even make any sense and the delivery suffers accordingly. The finest moments on this disc is the all instrumental 'The Return-Part1', with its neo- medieval sheen and the bombastic epic segue 'Endless Star' and both are jewels of the very highest order. The latter in particular runs for a good 10 minutes and showcases the immense talent at hand, Peraza doing some masterful work in arranging this colossus of sound and fury. Diaz shows off delirious electric guitar technique that is just off the wall brilliant. The rhythm section just cooks up a tropical storm of musical delight.

Roberto, please invite Carlos back or re-record with someone who has mastered a language (any one of your choice, even Kobaian!) and I will anoint this with 5 cigars. Cover by the amazing Ed Unitsky only deepens my sorrow, for it's a truly stellar package.

3.5 berlitz lessons

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 The Lamplighter by ANIMA MUNDI album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.79 | 113 ratings

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The Lamplighter
Anima Mundi Symphonic Prog

Review by mbzr48

5 stars The Lamplighter, takes an unmistakable turn in style towards the symphonic progressive spectrum. Again, this is an area that I have focused on in the past fifteen years and Anima Mundi plays the same trick with me; the album opens up the eyes and ears again towards symphonic progressiveness. Changing a band member, especially a singer, can be devastating to a band. Anima Mundi had to endure this at a bad moment when, as the recording of this new album was almost finished, their beloved singer Carlos Sosa announced that he had decided to leave. He was replaced by Emmanuel Pirko Farrath and recordings had to be redone. Emmanuel's voice is a bit different but blends perfectly with the music, thus avoiding any consequences of this severe change while listening. An amazing job, really. There are lamps that enlighten the deepest spaces of cosmos while another one lights up the skies of our heart. Hearts or Stars; Love enlighten them and along with them lights the magic world that surround us. By the lamplighter hand, we will have the opportunity of a journey through this magic world we breathe every single day. This ancient and mysterious character with a lamp comes to take us away into the wonder of life. This is a journey in a world of legend and magic, through a planet called Earth, human kind, a mother star we calls Sun, the meaning of existence and the Lamp of His Majesty Love, a world where the seemingly simplest things that surround and go with to us in daily life will acquire the magic and astonishing essence that only a lighted heart is able to see. So close your eyes because Anima Mundi and a symphonic orchestra will start to play in a concert hall tunes that will lead you to an ageless time into the tales from who lights the lamp that enlighten the world: The Lamplighter. The Lamplighter is an album that again shows Anima Mundi offering impressive and excellent compositions, brought to us with untainted passion. Lovely. Amazing. Enchanting. Recommended without any doubt. Will certainly be a top 5 album in 2013. 5 Star, Highly recommended.

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