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cover art from “Tunes of Ba Sing Se.”Ashley Spina created artworks to accompany original music by Allesandro Rotondi on the album “Tunes of Ba Sing Se.”

Grads combine talents to pay tribute to inspiring anime

When a popular streaming service added his favourite television show to its line-up last summer, Allesandro Rotondi was inspired.

A 2020 graduate of the music program, he set out to produce a few “lo-fi” instrumental works, but the project he launched Friday grew into something bigger — a full album entitled Tunes of Ba Sing Se.

“The songs are inspired by Avatar: The Last Airbender, and I attempted to create instrumental landscapes that suit the atmosphere of the show’s universe,” in which some characters have the ability to manipulate the elements, says Rotondi.

“I combined sounds commonly heard in the show such as kalimba, erhu, glockenspiel, with my own assortment of pop, rock, and jazz influence — like back-masked electric guitar, Hammond organ, electric bass, and traditional and electric drum kit.”

What really excited him, though, was the opportunity to collaborate with his girlfriend Ashley Spina (BA English and visual arts, 2019), a graphic artist who operates under the business name “Werks By Ashley.” She created illustrations used for the album cover and prints included in a deluxe edition of the album, which will be sold as a physical compact disc.

“They make a wonderful accompaniment to the 10 pop tracks I composed, performed, and produced myself at home,” says Rotondi.

The songs are available to stream or for purchase in digital or physical form.