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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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ANIMA MUNDI discography


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

3.47 | 53 ratings
Septentrión
2002
3.80 | 103 ratings
Jagannath Orbit
2008
4.06 | 215 ratings
The Way
2010
3.85 | 123 ratings
The Lamplighter
2013
4.12 | 68 ratings
I Me Myself
2016

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

4.50 | 12 ratings
Live in Europe
2012

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

4.50 | 4 ratings
Live in Europe
2012

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

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ANIMA MUNDI Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 I Me Myself by ANIMA MUNDI album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.12 | 68 ratings

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I Me Myself
Anima Mundi Symphonic Prog

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I can't remember how I found out about Anima Mundi but perhaps it was three years ago that I decided to buy "Jagannath Orbit" and give the band a try. The music was full blown symphonic prog with layers of keyboards, guitars, percussion and vocals singing about "Love and Light", a Jon Anderson/ Yes inspired album to be sure. I bought a song from "The Way" from iTunes and then left the band for awhile, always thinking to go back and try another album someday. In the meantime, they re-released their debut, this time in English (the original was in their native Spanish) and recorded a new studio album "The Lamplighter". Then some weeks back I saw that Oliver Rüsing of KariBow posted on KariBow's Facebook page that the two bands had shared the bill at one venue and had gotten to know each other. By coincidence someone posted on a Facebook prog page about Anima Mundi's new album "I Me Myself". I gave the music a cursory listen and was stunned. I ordered the album soon after.

I'm not sure what I missed in between but Anima Mundi went from a spiritual and uplifting symphonic prog band complete with a didgeridoo to what sounds a lot like a heavy prog band. This album features some pretty darn heavy guitars and more Hammond organ (catch the organ solo in "Flowers" that references Genesis). The mood is dark, generally speaking though there are some lighter and some almost whimsical parts. Certainly though, this album has lost the floating-on-a- spiritual-high feel that "Jagannath Orbit" had. The title track, and parts of "Somewhere", "Flowers" and "Train to the Future" are so heavy and muscular that this doesn't seem like the same band. I like that!

There's another important aspect and that's the stripped down approach to composition. I feel like this album could have been recorded on an 8-track because there's a simplicity, even sparsity to the music at times with only drums, bass and keyboards or drums, bass and vocals carrying the song. Because of this simpler approach the bass guitar stands out more. Add to this the drums, the Hammond sound, Mellotron, or synthesizers, and the harder, heavier guitar and you have an album that packs a punch!

Not everything is so clenched and gritted though. "Clockwork Heart" offers a sly black-cat-cool jazzy touch and more atmospheric passages take us across the oceans between the rocky continents and islands. There's also a sombre but beautiful piano passage in "Train to the Future", which turns into a kind of requiem or dirge before a Pink Floyd-like guitar solo comes in, accompanied by rising strings. It concludes with strummed acoustic guitar and a cello. Come to think of it, the cello has become a pretty regular instrument to hear on prog albums. The closing song "Lone Rider" includes some flute and is possibly the most relaxed track on the album.

Though there was plenty to catch my attention from the get-go, it's taken me a few listens to really soak in all the sounds and songs. Parts I previously dismissed as less interesting have proven to offer some terrific music reaching for different emotions. With this album Anima Mundi have earned themselves a spot on my bands-to-hear-more list, and with Virginia Peraza's remark saying something to the effect that the trilogy of "The Way", "The Lamplighter" and "I Me Myself" make Anima Mundi's three best albums or something, I will be giving this band more attention.

 I Me Myself by ANIMA MUNDI album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.12 | 68 ratings

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I Me Myself
Anima Mundi Symphonic Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

5 stars After the release of many good albums, the band is back with another symphonic adventure of epics songs. This is another concept album about the relation between human and the technology. And it is just what the music here is illustrating ; a modern symphonic prog rock style with heavier moments display by a heavy guitar sound only possible because of the modern technology of today. As usual, the music has a lot of quiet and beautiful atmosphere where the melody is carried slowly. The addition of sax and trumpet will make you think of VDGG and Pink Floyd, but the influences of those bands including Yes and Genesis are not obvious because the music has that unique Cuban type of Prog Rock. The keyboards lines are more upfront that those bands, but not as much as ELP. I really enjoyed the way the bass lines are flying throughout this album, also the new vocalist voice Bermudez is not bad.The band has the talent to bring the vocals at the right time after long instrumentals and majestic parts. The tree first songs are never boring and the song "Clocking Heart" is the only step back from that excellent album with a relaxed jazzy atmosphere. "Flowers" is less adventurous, but very catchy with a nice guitar solo , and the singer's voice seems a bit forced here. "Train to the Future" is another highlight of the album with a fast tempo pace where all instruments are shining. The last song is some acoustic and a more vocals- oriented song containing another beautiful ending with the electric guitar.
 The Lamplighter by ANIMA MUNDI album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.85 | 123 ratings

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The Lamplighter
Anima Mundi Symphonic Prog

Review by poito

5 stars I was curious about what this Cuban symphonic prog band would release after the excellent THE WAY. This Lamplighter is a concept album, less pretentious, less bombastic than former works, but it is a major work; in my view the most accomplished by the band so far, and more digestible too. Most tracks are 3-6 min long, a good timing to digest the hyper-complex music by Roberto Diaz and company, in which one rarely finds a musical motif or a variation that repeats twice. In this album, the new singer Farrath is much better suited for prog music than former insipid Sosa. He sings borrowing from the different vocals of early King Crimson, Wetton, Lake, etc, but never below them, always in site, deep and filling. Keybords and guitar are great, and the drums, finally the band has enrolled a drummer JM Govin who knows what prog requires. In a way the band completed the right combination of components to develop their musical ideas. It is now full grown, maybe it took a bit too long, but it was worth the waiting. The entire album is a tribute to 70's King Crimson, but with own character in the composition. The album is a masterpiece of symphonic prog, music for the more demanding prog fans, they found the formula to express their traditional exuberant creativity in the right tempo without stressing the listener, as it used to happen in some of their earlier works. You'll find some prog gems here, like the longest track Endless Star, a three part instrumental that is pure delight. It may take a few turns before one can enjoy fully the thousand ideas contained in this release, unless you are a fan of the Rey Carmesí
 I Me Myself by ANIMA MUNDI album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.12 | 68 ratings

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I Me Myself
Anima Mundi Symphonic Prog

Review by emperorken

4 stars Well, here is one of the great symphonic prog bands of this millennium. I had huge expectations for this release as I had considered each of their previous 2 releases 5 star albums. And I must say, the band's compositional skills and musicianship remain at their peak. Just fantastic- nobody does it better than Roberto Diaz, Virginia Peraza, and the rest of the instrumentalists.

So why only 4 stars? Obviously, it's the new vocalist, Two albums ago, they had Carlos Sosa on vocals, and he was perfect on "The Way". On the last album, "The Lamplighter" they had Emmanuel Pirko Farrath, and although he sang with a rather thick accent, his voice was rich and warm and fit the music well. Now we have "I Me Myself" and another new vocalist, Michel Bermudez. I find Bermudez' voice not only heavily accented, but also somewhat irritating. Especially when he is singing in a high pitch, which is most tracks except the closer, "Lone Rider", on which he is quite listenable. And although the lyrics are in English, hardly a word is understandable.

So here we have an album that could probably qualify for 6 stars musically, but I am bringing it down to 4 for the generally annoying vocals. The redeeming thing is that there are quite a few extended instrumental passages which are just a joy to hear. Oh, to have Carlos Sosa back singing on this album would have made it a truly exceptional album.

 Septentrión by ANIMA MUNDI album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.47 | 53 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.
 The Way by ANIMA MUNDI album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.06 | 215 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.
 Jagannath Orbit by ANIMA MUNDI album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.80 | 103 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.
 Jagannath Orbit by ANIMA MUNDI album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.80 | 103 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.

 The Lamplighter by ANIMA MUNDI album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.85 | 123 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.
 The Lamplighter by ANIMA MUNDI album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.85 | 123 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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