Al Conti’s “Northern Seas”

The myths of the Norse come to life in composer Al Conti’s latest recording. Northern Seas is Conti’s fourth album and contains eleven original new age/world-fusion pieces that draw on ancient Norse mythology while weaving in modern sensibilities. As with his previous award-winning album, Scheherazade, Conti has taken well-known tales, this time from the mystical lands of the north that originated during Scandinavia’s Viking Age, and woven music around themes and images. By combining ancient and exotic instruments (kantele, Jew’s harp, hurdy gurdy, pump organ, accordion, and tribal drums) with modern ones (piano, violin, cello and both acoustic and electric guitar), Conti has created a mythical landscape that will carry the listener to another time and place, one cloaked in veils of mist when the gods ruled over harsh Nordic lands.

Al Conti is a composer, arranger, producer and multi-instrumentalist. Conti has traveled widely and has lived in South America, Europe and the United States. As an actor, he has appeared on television shows including the CBS daytime drama “As The World Turns,” in films, in numerous radio and television commercials, and on-stage in theatre productions in cities including New York City, Philadelphia, Tampa and Buenos Aires. Born and raised in Argentina, Conti comes from a family of artists with notoriety in many fields. Conti, who has composed music all his life, released his first album, Shadows, in 2006, Poeta, in 2007 and the critically acclaimed, award winning Scheherazade in 2008.

Regarding the Northern Seas album, Conti says, “Norse mythology provided a rich and powerful tapestry from which to weave an amazing project. My work comes to life from the pages of books, fairy tales, poetry, and travel and become the music I create while at the same time journaling my life’s events. An artist’s life experiences are woven together to become creative events that in turn grow into a project that chronicles the artist’s journey. As in past projects, it is the concept that chooses me, rather than the other way around. And so, the myths and legends of the Norse became an album project before I had much time to think it over”.

In Northern Seas, listeners enter into a musical feast through a Veil of Mist and are carried on a journey filled with echoes from the past. Long lost myths tell of a forgotten time and place ruled by nature and ancient deities. Such are the myths of the timeless Northern Seas. The album provides a musical background to these ancient tales, capturing the imagination through the stories of I−unn, the Spring Maiden, Thor’s Journey, the trickster god Loki (Loki’s Jig), Odin the Wanderer, Baldur’s demise (Baldur), the well known Valkyries, in the haunting Valkyrja, the downfall of the gods in Ragnar and ending in the poignant and deeply emotional The Rainbow Bridge.

“As with my previous projects”, Al says, “this album, inspired by the intensity and beauty of Norse mythology, became a very powerful artistic journey of self-discovery. The feeling of the ancient past and an ever constant present managed to merge within this work, once again, marking another chapter in my musical journal”.

Al Conti’s childhood was full of artistic expression. His grandfather was a concert pianist, his mother was a professional ballerina, and his father is an architect, published poet and university professor. Al’s family tree also includes the famous Argentinean writer and politician Miguel Cané, who held numerous political offices, notably as Argentine minister of external affairs and of the Interior and Mayor of the City of Buenos Aires. On his mother’s side, Al is also a relative of the Necchi family that founded the famous sewing machine company. Although Al’s family was living in Argentina, his heritage is Italian and German. Because of this diverse cultural background, Conti grew up speaking several languages. When Al was three years old, he announced to his parents that he wanted to be an actor. Also, at a very young age, Al began listening to his family’s vast collection of recordings, playing a game with his parents where they asked for a particular classical recording and Al would find the correct piece and put it on the stereo. At age six he began teaching himself how to play piano and guitar. When he was eight years old, after much insistence, his parents finally allowed him to take acting lessons, which led to his first stage roles in Argentina.

When asked about musicians who have inspired him, Al says, “I could go on all day. I have enjoyed music from all over the world in many different styles since I was a child. I never stop listening and looking for new music. I was deeply influenced by classical music early in my formative years and always enjoyed the works of composers such as Chopin, Vivaldi and Bizet. I also grew up listening to Tangos and Argentinean and European pop music and later New Age and World music.”

In addition to his music career, Conti lends his support to a number of causes such as The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Alzheimer’s Association, and Until There’s a Cure, which combats the HIV/AIDS pandemic. In 2008, Al joined Kevin Bacon, Jessica Alba and Shelley Morrison (“Will & Grace”) in lending his supporting the Until There’s a Cure foundation to help raise awareness and funds for research. “If you have ever had a friend or family member fighting one of these diseases, then you know why it is so important for all of us to show our support.”

He has already begun to compose his next album, due out in 2012.

People also view

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *