Cirque du Soleil / René Dupéré

Cirque du Soleil: Saltimbanco

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The stage performance of Saltimbanco celebrates life and the powers of imagination in the urbanized 20th century. Its music, composed almost entirely by Rene Dupere, is fantastical and eclectic, cutting edge at some points and ageless at others. "Pokinoï"'s strange rhythm and soft choral vocals sound vaguely Eastern European, while "Kumbalawé"'s soft flute and string sounds are reminiscent of Africa. Songs such as "Amazonia" and "Il Sogno Di Volare" are stylistically opposite from each other, but the chameleon-like vocals of Francine Poitras provide a common line throughout the album. She leads the music -- and the listener -- on a journey from Africa to South America to Russia and home again. Thanks in part to Poitras' floating, agile voice, and in part to the sparing usage of electric guitar or heavy drums, the music comes through very well in a studio setting. It has a gentler sound than Alegria, and is less haunting than Mystere. A listener can choose to put on headphones and become enmeshed in the music or to turn the volume down low and enjoy it as a backdrop to the day's tasks.

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