Anna Rugis

Reconciliation, The Company of Saints and Sages

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Many new age vocalists have a good heart, loving lyrics and sweet melodies, but lack the punch of dynamic tension. Singer Anna Rugis offers both wisdom and sophistication. Her songs offer depth, guts, and beauty; they may well stand playing on a jazz station. As the title suggests, the lyrics are drawn from the wisdom of many sages: Buddha, Irina Tweedie, Gurdjieff, and others. The outstanding arrangements, each song distinct, feature Rugis's strong, clear voice overdubbed -- a one-woman Manhatten Transfer -- with the accompaniment of nature sounds, gong, organ drone, synth strings, or clarion bells. "A Zen Madrigal" features that wonder of wonders -- "dead air" -- followed by an attention-getting gong to the side of the head. "The Practice of Tranquility," inspired by Buddha, starts with a dynamic, biting piece that chews on the complexities of life; Rugis then free-floats to find within the practice of tranquility. "I See No Reason to Leave this Place" is a canon that muses about the senses and the heart. Words can't convey the arresting sophistication of the lyrics and the arrangements. "On the Path of Return," inspired by Irina Tweedie, has a harpsichord accompaniment. A brilliant touch is the British-sounding "p-a-a-w-th." I felt like skipping through a country garden...ahhb-sewloot-ly chaarming. This new age vocal album has spirituality, musicality, poetry, and smarts to burn.

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