Mention 'Italian music' to most folk and they'll likely think of: Volare, Enrico Caruso, Frank Sinatra and Antonio Vivaldi. (OK, Jazz fans might think of Charlie Ventura, Joe Lovano, Joe Romano and Flip Phillips.) Italy has a very rich musical tradition (apart from classical music) that gets somewhat lost in the world music shuffle as people often embrace the more exotic musics from Africa, the East European Balkans region and Asia. (Note: there is no ominous lurking "-ism" in that statement what's exotic to many Americans/Western Europeans is simply matter-of-fact or folk music in other countries; while to us, folk music means Woody Guthrie or anybody with an acoustic guitar.) Singer/percussionist/composer Alessandra Belloni is a NYC-based Italian performer who has immersed herself in the ancient traditions of the tarantella music & dance of Southern Italy, interpreting traditional songs and composing originals in the trad style. Any visions of the wedding dance scenes in any of The Godfather films go out the window when listening to this platter. In fact, some of this music sounds at times quite Celtic and at other times like the classical dance music of the European Renaissance, but with a powerful recurring whomp to it, carrying echoes of Spanish flamenco and African rhythms. Belloni has a achingly lovely, amber-hued voice with just a touch of eerie vibrato, somewhat reminiscent of Lisa Gerard, Buffy Saint-Marie and Marta Sebestyen. Tarantelle and Canti d'Amore is not pop music at all (no dance beats, samples or drum programming to be found here), but neither is it forbidding, either quite the opposite, in fact. It encapsulates the essence(s) of ritual, dignity, worship, loss and longing, and is recommended unreservedly to manner & variety of multi-cultural gate-crashers.