Tarantata: Dance of the Ancient Spider
The cover hints at the spirit contained within: we find Allessandra Belloni, virtuosic tambourine player and compelled vocalist, in an apparent swirl of sensuous abandon, eyes closed and with her image half out-of-focus, in more ways than one. Such is the prevailing sense of hypnotic musical energy on Tarantata: Dance of the Ancient Spider (Sounds True MM00117; 67:49), celebrating the Southern Italian tradition of the Tarantella, a feverish dance form that suggests a blend of eroticism and exorcism-by legend, dispelling the poison of the tarantula, and the ills of angst. Belloni is a passionate practitioner and also a cultural preservationist, intent on extending the life and vitality of this hoary ritualistic tradition. She is joined by a gifted coterie of musicians, including flutist Steve Gorn, frame drummer Glen Velez, accordionist Charlie Giordano, violinist Joe Deninzon and background singer Alessandra Tartivita, on an album about music's secret life as a healing force.