After the Grammy-winning 1987 effort Down to the Moon, Andreas Vollenweider returned with Dancing With the Lion, a concept album of sorts about the nature of life and death. For the first time, Vollenweider extended his creative palette, drawing on the talents of many musicians worldwide. His modified harp was still in full effect, but Lion matched its unique tone with touches of electric guitar (the light, Latin-influenced pop of "Dance of the Masks"), plaintive violin ("See, My Love"), and the ambitious title track, which mixed unique percussion and vocal elements into a surprisingly straightforward pop cocktail. While the composer's early work seemed to be more about relaxation, or where the music could take the listener, Dancing With the Lion seemed to encourage contemplation. It was easy to find solace in the Asian-inflected chording of "Hippolyte," or the album's atmospheric finale, where flutes, flamenco guitar, fiddle, and chimes combined with the harp in an approximation of that famous story about the white light at the end of the tunnel. The addition of so many extra instruments into Vollenweider's already widely scanning sound worked to expand his ideology as much as it did his sound, since the range of ethnic styles represented unified his music with so many locales. Dancing With the Lion was a textured, pensive release that suggested Vollenweider's later work with an international cast of likeminded musicians and symphonies.
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AllMusic Review by Johnny Loftus