Jenny Sorrenti

Medieval Zone

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From the very first track on this album by Italian singer/composer Jenny Sorrenti, you know things are going to go badly. The problem isn't the concept -- Euro-Celtic fusion efforts have borne much delicious fruit over the past decade, and there's absolutely no reason why an album that seeks to bring Neapolitan song, Arabic rhythms, Celtic tunes, and medieval instrumentation shouldn't be a rousing success. The problem isn't the arrangements, either; they are skillful and interesting. The problem is that singer Jenny Sorrenti, for all of her several decades of experience, simply does not have much control over her voice and is not capable of singing reliably in tune. If she were a punk rocker this wouldn't matter. But when you're going to tackle a sacred song from the 12th century ("Verbum Patris Humanatur"), or a romantic Proven├žal song ("Can lo Rius de la Fontaine"), or, for crying out loud, a gem of a Scots love ballad like "Leaboy's Lassie," you've got to have the chops to back it up, because your listeners are going to compare you to Sequentia and Emma Kirkby and Jean Redpath. You should also probably make sure you have at least a relatively idiomatic grasp of the languages you try to write in; Sorrenti's "Water Fly" ("water fly"?) is an embarrassing lyrical disaster. Not recommended.

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