On a high with Yanni
The beloved uplifter of music returns to Bangkok |next week with more orchestral manoeuvresGreek-born American composer and multi-instrumentalist Yanni will perform his second concert in Bangkok next week, including tracks from his latest album "Truth of Touch" - his first studio album in seven years.
Aiming directly at the heart with his emotional sounds, Yiannis Hrysomallis has released 14 studio CDs and many more compilations and live albums, topped by 1994's "Yanni Live at the Acropolis". The DVD of that show became history's second-best-selling music video, after Michael Jackson's "Thriller".
Yanni, 56, has performed before more than two million people in 20 countries and racked up 35 platinum and gold albums, representing sales above 20 million records.
Self-taught on piano since age six, he left Greece for America, earned a degree in psychology and played with a rock 'n' roll band. His solo debut was "Optimystique" in 1984.
Yanni was in Thailand last month to meet the press.
We've seen you before somewhere.
I came to Bangkok to perform in 1993, and what I'm trying to do is keep coming back. Since then I've been to Phuket from time to time. I'm from Greece and I like beautiful beaches!
Any plans for another monumental concert like at the Acropolis?
I'd rather not answer that because we're working on things, so it's premature. Right now we're just concentrating on the upcoming concerts.
Of course it always felt different when I performed in special places, like the Taj Mahal, the Acropolis and the Parthenon, and I'm sure the audience knew how special the experience was too.
At the Taj Mahal it was a full moon. It took us a year to put that show together. I looked back and there was moonlight beaming at the gorgeous, humongous Taj Mahal. I got goose bumps!
All these monuments are inspiring because they represent man's attempt to reach the stars and remain in the consciousness of the planet indefinitely. They were built to last forever, and you feel that energy.
Do you have a favourite singer you'd like to work with?
I like a lot of singers, and I will probably work with some in the future. I tend to prefer instrumental music because it's more open, but the human voice too can be the most expressive instrument known to man. There is power to it.
I always have problems with lyrics, because lyrics tend to put a song into a box. Not always, because a great voice's marriage with music can make a great song timeless, but it's very difficult to do - and unfortunately there are a lot of bad ones.
Have you ever written lyrics?
No. I think in terms of sounds, rhythms and melodies. If you think about the masters - Beethoven, Bach, Mozart - they communicate beautifully through the ages and cultures with just sounds.
When I write music the first thing I do is to communicate the emotions to the listeners with any kinds of instrument known to man. I like this freedom to create whatever you like. It's part of my soul.
I'm taking my music all over the world. If I have lyrics, half of the music will be lost because a lot of people might not understand what it means. Instrumental music doesn't have that problem, and all messages are sent across.
What impact does your music have on your fans?
It's the most touching thing in my life and my career when I hear that people use my music to get through life and loss. They feel uplifted, and their pain goes away. It calms them down, and even stops them from committing suicide.
I can't say that I write my music to do that, but it connects. I'm an optimistic human being and always look to the future, and my listeners feel it.
How long do you work on a song?
It depends. I don't read or write music, but I have my own musical shorthand. It looks like hieroglyphs and it's a very accurate system.
Normally I take five to eight days to record a track, but to conceive it in my mind it's pretty instant. I close my eyes and I hear music because I have perfect pitch. The music in my mind is perfect - everybody's in tune! And my studio's at home [in South Florida] so I can go in anytime when I have an idea.
What's going to happen in Bangkok this time around?
I love being onstage, playing the music I love. It's going to be a lot of fun. It will be a powerful and emotional concert.
But no dancers!
IT'S THE TRUTH
Yanni performs at Impact Arena in Muang Thong Thani on Tuesday at 8.30pm.
Tickets cost Bt2,000 to Bt5,000.
Call (02) 262 3456 or visit www.ThaiTicketMajor.com.