Soprano Meets Bass: Sephardic Treasures Alan Lewine & Ana María Ruimonte
- 1Las Cumadres Fechiceras05:36
- 2La Infanticida03:40
- 3El Rey Cuando Amadrugaba03:33
- 4Al Pasar por Casablanca04:39
- 5En Casa del Rey León04:34
- 6Triste Está el Rey David04:45
- 7Maldiciendo el Rey03:58
- 8Tristes Nuevas04:30
- 9Días de la Semana03:09
- 10Cantiga de Cuna02:56
- 11Señor don Gato02:02
- 12Vido Venir Tres a Caballo06:05
- 13Tres Morillas de Jaén03:38
- 14La Tarara02:33
- 15Anda Jaleo02:28
Info zu Soprano Meets Bass: Sephardic Treasures
SOPRANO MEETS BASS is the latest from Ansonica Records. This album of traditional medieval Sephardic songs arranged by jazz bassist and music director Alan Lewine and classical soprano Ana María Ruimonte is an ethnomusicological celebration of the ancient Sephardic culture. These Spanish Jews were expelled from Spain in the 15th Century and resettled throughout the world, mingling their musical traditions with those of other peoples they encountered. The original arrangements meld medieval Moorish Iberia, jazz, flamenco, Middle Eastern music, and bel canto. They have set these songs in a sort of recombinant world fusion reflecting a vibrant embodiment of the Sephardic communities and their culture.
As the album’s title suggests, the female voice plays a starring role in SOPRANO MEETS BASS. This reflects the fact that the Sephardic tradition has, for centuries, been an oral one, passed down from mother to daughter across an expanse of generations. Only in the 20th Century were these songs transcribed by musicologists. The stories told in the Sephardic Romancero—the repertoire from which the album’s program is drawn—conjure up portraits of life in medieval Spain and the universal truths that undergird them. Spanish soprano Ana María Ruimonte gives life to these ancient melodies and lyrics, radiating from the center of a constellation of renowned virtuosos. Flamenco guitar, Israeli flute, shofar, and a trove of other culturally significant musical instruments vitalize the music of SOPRANO MEETS BASS. And, thanks to the modern, high-fidelity recording quality of these performances, the listener is immersed in the tradition like never before.
The artists’ arrangements of the songs on SOPRANO MEETS BASS have been performed throughout the world, from Spain to Cuba to Israel and the United States. This is fitting, since each of these nations has had a hand in forming the unique amalgam of cultural music we hear in this album. In fact, given the vast swath of history and human experience inherent in the arrangements of Lewine and Ruimonte, listeners of all backgrounds are bound to find something of themselves in the rhythms and timbres of SOPRANO MEETS BASS.
Ana María Ruimonte, voice, castanets, palmas
Alan Lewine, double bass
Ana María Ruimonte
born and raised in Madrid, Spain, is a classical singer experienced in roles as both soprano and mezzo-soprano. She obtained her degree at Spain’s leading vocal conservatory, the Escuela Superior de Canto of Madrid in 2006, and studied further in Nuremberg, Philadelphia, and New York. She was a finalist at the International Opera Umberto Giordano competition in 2013 in Italy. Ana María appeared numerous times on Spanish National Radio and Television (RTVE) before and since moving to the United States.
As a resident singer with Madrid’s Teatro Real (Royal Theater) for seven years, Ana María shared the stage with most of the biggest stars of the opera world, such as Plácido Domingo, Renato Bruson, Montserrat Caballé, and Dolora Zajick, appearing on opera albums released by Deutsche Grammophon and other major labels. She also appeared on several major European DVD and BluRay opera video releases and frequently on Spanish national television.
From 2008-2013 Ana María spent some years as a full-time tenured member of the National Chorus and Orchestra of Spain (OCNE) with whom she toured the world with famed conductor Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, including appearances in 2009 at Lincoln Center in New York.
Since relocating to the United States, Ana María has released five albums of classical, Spanish baroque, and 20th Century Cuban classical music and performed in many cities in the United States, Belgium, the Netherlands, throughout Spain, Israel in both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, Havana, Matanzas, Cienfuegos, and Santiago de Cuba and appeared on Spanish, American, and Cuban television and radio to excellent reviews and received high praise in specialized magazines.
Ana María has performed annually by invitation since 2016 as part of the International Festival Cubadisco and performed in 2019 at the Festival de Música Contemporánea, and has performed and recorded for the Owlsong label with piano maestro Huberal Herrera, members of Cuba’s National Symphony Orchestra, and various others among Cuba’s best classical musicians in addition to a few tracks with Alan Lewine. Her most recent project in the Cuban classical vein has been an exploration of modernist poets such as José Martí, Juan Ramón Jiménez, Gustavo Sánchez Galarraga, Walt Whitman, and others as treated by (mostly) living composers and includes the recent release of Sencillamente Martí. Her bilingual multimedia theatrical spectacular about life and music in 17th-century Spain, The Cart of Love (El Carro del Amor), continues in development, and has been honored with featured performances at the Library of Congress in Washington DC, Taller Puertorriqueño in Philadelphia, Casa de Alba in Havana, Cuba, Palacio de los Olvidados in Granada, Spain, Opera America in New York, and other places around the world. As part of Soprano Meets Bass with Alan Lewine, she also helped develop and sings the concerts Nine Centuries of Music in About An Hour as well as Sephardic Treasures. They have performed these programs and others in Israel, Cuba, Spain, Belgium, and the Netherlands as well as throughout the United States.
leader, bassist, and composer of the Alan Lewine Xtet, currently lives in Phoenix, Arizona from Philadelphia. Also the founder of Owlsong Productions (in 1982 while preparing a Thelonious Monk memorial concert in Taos NM), Lewine has performed and recorded all over the U.S., Europe, Middle East and Latin America. His influences include not just jazz, but all forms of music from Gamelan to flamenco, Zappa to Xenakis. Eclectic? Yes, and reviews have yielded high praise of the impact of these varied influences on Sephardic Treasures.
The main focus of his 40+ year career has been jazz, but Alan has performed with afropop and Latin music stars as well as classical, gamelan, Mexican, rockabilly, bluegrass, flamenco, and klezmer notables in major and minor cities throughout the US and in several other countries. Alan studied piano as a child, and later studied composition and arranging at the University of New Mexico. Mainly an autodidact, Milt Hinton was a mentor early in his career. Other important bass mentors have been Ray Brown, John Clayton, Lynn Seaton, Bruce Gertz, and Leroy Vinnegar. Alan also played and studied traditional Ghanaian (Ewe) percussion with Obo Addy and Balinese gamelan gong kebyar with I Nyoman Suadin, flamenco with Julián Vaquero and Víctor Monge, and traditional country blues with Johnny Never. Alan has worked with many of the great names in jazz over the years, including Eddie Daniels, Kenny Davern, Richie Cole, Joe Henderson, Clifford Jordan, Henry Threadgill, Vinnie Golia, Anita O’Day, Sheila Jordan, Mose Allison, Butch Miles, Barney Kessel, Herb Ellis, Roy Hargrove, and old masters like Gus Johnson, Bo Diddley, Sweets Edison, Mickey Roker, Stéphane Grappelli, and many others.
Alan has appeared on 18 releases as leader, sideman, or producer since the mid-1980s. His very first release, Alan Lewine Septet: Original Jazz, recorded at a 1985 concert appearance, garnered awards and rave reviews in multiple publications, and formed the originating idea for the Alan Lewine Xtet. In January 2020, Alan’s compositions and his Alan Lewine Xtet were featured at the 35th Jazz Plaza international festival of jazz in Havana.
As part of Soprano Meets Bass with Ana María Ruimonte, he also helped develop and plays in the programs Nine Centuries of Music in About An Hour as well as Sephardic Treasures. They have performed these programs and others in Israel, Cuba, Spain, Belgium, and the Netherlands as well as throughout the United States.
Also a scholar, Alan taught music theory from a jazz perspective at Portland State University in Oregon and has written about ethnomusicology and the history and anthropology of various jazz styles and the music of the Sephardic diaspora. He currently serves on the Boards of Directors of the International Society of Bassists and Philadelphia’s Jazz Bridge Project.
Alan’s primary instrument is an early 19th-century Mittenwald bass. He uses Kolstein Heritage strings and Kolstein rosin, and when amplification is required he uses Acoustic Image amplifiers and a Planet Wing pickup.