In 1997, Tito Rinesi released Middle East: Ethnic Music from the Balkans, Middle East, and North Africa on Primrose Music, an album produced by Stefano Torossi. The composer and musician plays bouzouki, saz, tar, and keyboards, as well as handling sampling, sequencing, and the arrangements of each track. The CD, now available as a digital download, was recorded and mixed at Studio La Levantina in Rome.
The two dozen tracks are divided into three areas: Arab-North Africa, Turkey-Caucasus, and Balkan-Greek, drawing on the traditional music systems Tito Rinesi have studied around the world.
Other musicians on Middle East include Luca Venitucci on accordion, Paolo Innarella on soprano saxophone, reed, and flute, Salvatore Passaro on clarinet, Carlo Cossu on violin, and Housam Rahal and Rinesi on vocals.
Tito Rinesi’s “The Eastern Gate,” produced by Stefano Torossi and featuring Rinesi on bouzouki, is on YouTube:
When asked about the inspiration for this composition, Rinesi commented:
All these tracks were influenced by my studies and practice of Oriental traditional music – mainly the feeling, the atmospheres, the scales, the rhythms – but not limited to that. There are also some jazz nuances, improvisations, and so on.
Tito Rinesi and Stefano Torossi also made Islam, another full length album, for Font Cetra/RAI in 1996.
This was their only other collaboration to date although numerous tracks from Middle East continue to appear regularly on compilation albums including “Caucasian Stars” on Sacred Moments (2000) on Primrose Music and New Age Focus: Ambient and New Age Music to Improve Your Concentration (2015) on ExtraBall Records.
Tito Rinesi’s “Caucasian Stars,” produced by Stefano Torossi, is online:
Thanks to the increased appearance of auto-generated videos on the Internet in the last year or two, every cut from Tito Rinesi’s Middle East album is now easy to find, including “The Call Of Islam,” “Black Muslim,” “Oriental Charm,” “The Voice of the Prophet,” “Nomads,” “Belly Dance,” “Folk Chant,” “The Sultan’s Favourite,” “Caucasian Stars,” “Sufi Memories,” “The Lone Shepherd,” “Alap,” “Balkan Migrations,” “Peasant Dance,” “Ottoman Brass,” “Greek Islands,” and “Thracian Souvenir,” in addition to alternate versions of several of the compositons.
A digital download of the CD is also available at iTunes, Amazon, and other online music sellers.
More Music by Tito Rinesi
Tito Rinesi has made more than 40 albums in an extensive recording and performing career that began with folk music in the late 60s in Italy and then San Francisco in the early 1970s, before moving to progressive rock with the band Saintjust in the mid 70s. In recent decades, he has often made music with an Oriental or Indian focus.
Like Stefano Torossi, Tito Rinesi has recorded a number of albums released by Rai Trade, an Italian label specializing in production music. In fact, between 1999 and 2013, Rinesi released at least seventeen full length albums, in addition to compilations.
The five albums Tito Rinesi did for Rai Trade in 1999 include Secret World, Landscapes, Sacred Books, World Colours, and African Journey.
Tito Rinesi’s “Bright Emerald” from World Colours, featuring a kalimba, udu drums, rattles, congas, and woodwinds, is on YouTube:
In 2000, Tito Rinesi released two more albums on Rai Trade, Cyberspace: Information Technology Music and Mother Nature, followed by Oriental Lights the next year.
“Rainbow,” the opening track on Mother Nature is also found on Soundesigner, a CD compilation on Rai Trade that features Luca Proietti and Stefan Torossi’s “Nomad Life” among other selections.
Tito Rinesi’s “Rainbow,” featuring the composer on acoustic guitar among other instruments, is online:
Each year between 2002 and 2007, Tito Rinesi released an album on Rai Trade focused on a different theme or region, including East West: Winds Have No Borders, Global War, Greece, China, Ethnosphere, and India.
Besides continuing to release new music for Rai Trade in the 2010s, Tito Rinesi’s original compositions can be found on the stage, radio, screen, TV, and on silent movie soundtracks. Recently, Rinesi has scored a pair of independent films, “Come se nulla fosse accaduto,” directed by Gioacchino Palumbo, and one still in progress by director Marco Dolcetta. He also continues to teach vocal technique in workshops on traditional Indian music.
Queried about upcoming projects, Rinesi commented:
And for the future, I’ve in my plans to prepare an album with several songs I composed during the years (some are really old, some are quite new). The style will be quite original, not the standard “songs” but rather compositions with different lengths and moods, with an atmosphere coloured by the sounds of the classical strings, plus acoustic and ethnic instruments. All of them sung my myself.
“Chergui” from East West: Winds Have No Borders (2002), featuring Tito Rinesi on bouzouki and ney flute, is on YouTube:
An interview with Tito Rinesi that includes more music, videos, and a closer look at the score he composed for John May’s 1921 epic The Indian Tomb, featuring a screenplay by Thea Von Arbou and Fritz Lang, is HERE.
In addition to releasing Middle East in 1997, Tito Rinesi also recorded Lux Oriens on the Iktius imprint. As part of the promotion for the full length album, Rinesi created a video for “Colonne d’Ercole” that uses images from Lotte Reininger’s 1926 film Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed (The Adventures of Prince Achmed). The intricate, hand-cut silhouettes used in the film are inspired by both Arabia’s One Thousand and One Nights and Chinese and Javanese shadow theater.
Tito Rinesi’s “Colonne d’Ercole” is here: