The Cuban symphonic prog rock band Anima Mundi was founded in the spring of 1996 due to the union of five friends who went to school together to major as professor of music. The original line up was: Roberto Díaz on guitars and vocals, Virginia Peraza on keyboards, Ariel Valdés on drums and percussion, Gustavo Comptis on bass and vocals and Abel González on guitars, backing keyboards and vocals. Between 1997 and 1999, the band recorded three demos: Eterno Cauce (1997), Tierra Invisible (1998) and Más Allá (1999). Anima Mundi quickly became an essential name among the alternative Cuban scene after offering the first live shows and appearing on specialized radio broadcastings and by means of a nonstop working. It did not take long to become one of the main and most interesting Cuban bands for the surprise and delight of many.
Due to the success achieved in national soil, Anima Mundi began planning its first album in 1999. Two guest musicians showed up when the band was composing the songs for the new record: Anaisy Gómez and Regis Rodríguez, both players of Galician bagpipes, Celtic flute and Tin Whistle. At the same time, Gustavo Comptis and Abel González left the band; while the bassist Ariel Angel and the singer Andremil Oropesa joined them. This period was characterized by particularities in the band sonority, very different to what they had been doing so far, and this new shift continued, later on, as a symphonic neo-prog with Celtic hints that listeners can find in the album Septentrión, (2001).
During the years 2000-2002, Anima Mundi had the chance of playing all along the island and giving large and important concerts that increased the band audience to thousands of fans. In July 2002, Mellow Records from Italy released Septentrión.
Anima Mundi began recording its second album Jagannath Orbit in August 2002. Hard years approached marked by problems in the album production and the departure of some musicians. Those years were characterized by constant changes in the band line up because of the problem in finding skillful musicians who were ready to face this music genre. Anima Mundi spent all that time looking for a way to make its album productions totally independent, and participated in few concerts and some national rock festivals, supported by guest musicians on the drums and bass.
This time coincides with the arrival of new members: the brief but remarkable Osvaldo Vietes on drums (2003 to 2005), the classic Anima Mundi’s skillful driving bassist Yaroski Corredera (Yaro) and late 2005 the influential and prestigious singer Carlos Sosa on vocals, also supporting acoustic guitars, keyboards and percussion on stage. This line up completed the circle to finally end the so far stuck production of Jagannath Orbit.
In 2007, after years of hard work, the band finished its second studio album, Jagannath Orbit. By means of this work this group of talented musicians searched for a unique approach to symphonic progressive rock to explore brand new soundscapes. The album was released in October 2008 by the French label Musea Records. From this moment on, the new material was distributed in Europe and the rest of the world. Jagannath Orbit had remarkable critics globally. The album signified a favorable shift for the band.
Since the departure of the drummer Osvaldo Vietes in 2005 and until 2008 the band kept playing live with the jazz drummer Eduardo Martínez until this same year 2008 when the powerful and symphonic drummer José Manuel Govin joined Anima Mundi. The band was at last complete and got back to the studios to produce a new album. The Way, Anima Mundi’s third studio work, got released in October 2010 by Musea Record. Immediately, the new record reached the world top ten of the genre and became the most successful band work up to that moment. The Way was mentioned by many as a progressive rock classic and gained worldwide acclaim becoming a big success in the prog rock field and bringing Anima Mundi to the most popular progressive artists around the world.
The band started The Way Tour in Europe in June 2011 when they were called to play live in the old continent. That tour carried the band to new stages and to a fresh higher position in the international scene. Anima Mundi recorded its first live double album and DVD: Live in Europe at De Lakei in Helmond, Netherlands in 2011 and released it in 2012, for the first time, under its own label, AMMUS.
This step and the forthcoming ones were possible thanks to the help and management of Job Roodenburg, from Holland, great Anima Mundi friend, who joins the band as a manager since 2012.
In 2012 Anima Mundi started to record its fourth studio album in the Netherlands. The recording and production were concluded in Havana in 2013. At that time, the vocalist Carlos Sosa left the band and was replaced by Emmanuel Pirko-Farrath, who re-recorded the vocals for the new album. The Lamplighter was released by AMMUS in June 2013. The beginning of the new European tour took off with a special concert performed at the famous De Boerderij, in the Netherlands, to present the new material to the audience. The band collaborated with the famous Byelorussian artist Ed Unitsky to achieve the new album artwork. The Lamplighter also reached the Top 10 of the prog genre this year and allowed these Cubans to play at famous stages together with important bands and artists in festivals and concerts such as The Night of the Prog, TNOTP Loreley, LARS festival and Burgherzberg Festival among others.
From August until October 2014 the band toured through Europe as part of the so called Tales Tour. This circuit’s set lists were mainly based on Anima Mundi greatest epic compositions. In the middle of the tour, the band began to compose its fifth studio album. Most of the main ideas were born in the Netherlands and Germany and were concluded back to Cuba in the late 2014. At that time, Emmanuel Pirko-Farrath decided to move on and was replaced by the high pitched singer, Michel Bermúdez. Anima Mundi officially started to work in the new album in January 2015. Early this year, the band played live in Havana City. About six months later, the drummer José Manuel Govin, due to health condition, which will take a long time to recover from, had to abandon the recording sessions. His place in the lineup was given to the powerful drummer and saxophone player, Marco Alonso.
The new material, I me myself, was released worldwide April the 28th , 2016. The first official album live presentation by the band was in a concert played in Museo de Bellas Artes (Fine Arts Museum) in Havana City. On May 12th, Anima Mundi set off for I Me Myself 20th Anniversary Tour throughout Europe which ended July 17th with a memorable and strong performance in the famous The Night Of The Prog (TNOTP) in Loreley, Germany.
With I Me Myself the band, once again, reached the top ten of the genre in several countries and pushed itself to frontiers of brand new eclectic sonorities. The album was regarded by critics as a symbol of a movement forward in Anima Mundi’s career mostly because of its fresh and heavier sound. In fact some of these critics and audience believe that albums like The Way and I Me Myself has catapulted Anima Mundi to prog rock Walhalla.
Is not a secret that Anima Mundi has walked the way step by step to successfully introduce itself among the varied and abundant nowadays progressive and art rock scene worldwide. The present line up is composed of Marco Alonso on drums and saxophone, Michel Bermúdez on vocals, the classic and powerful bass player Yaro, and the historical leaders, composers and founders Virginia Peraza on keyboards and vocals and Roberto Díaz on guitars and vocals. Today, Anima Mundi perseveres as the only active exponent of progressive symphonic rock in Cuba.
“Being a rara avis in its environment, it’s impossible to understand the evolution of the band without knowing the Cuban situation. The phenomenon of migration is suffered by every single family in the island, and the Mundis aren’t out of this problem. Within the musicians that have belonged to the band, nine of them live in other countries, and sometimes this hole in the line-ups hasn’t been easy to fill with new talented performers. To this major trouble, we can add the need of instruments, equipment, and information. Moreover, the indifference of the mass media to rock music, considered by many as having foreign influence and with lack of national identity” ….Cecil Canetti….