The Charlotte Observer Posted on Fri, Mar. 26, 2004
This mustachioed synthesizer maestro who courted actress Linda Evans in the early '90s has become, for all intents and purposes, the Face of New Age. But Yanni says he doesn't like New Age any more than the people who feel the term is synonymous with boring. In his autobiography, Yanni describes New Age pretty much like any other skeptic would: "a label meant to conjure visions of artists who say `ommmmm' a lot and use the ambient sounds of tree frogs, crashing waves and waterfalls to enhance meditation." Here's what you can expect at his Wednesday performance at Charlotte Coliseum.
NO TREE FROGS Yanni's latest album, "Ethnicity," is full of layered orchestration that incorporate inspirational, ambient and world music, recalling the complicated rock of Trans-Siberian Orchestra at times. The instrumentalist is joined by a choir that both sings and chants, while the sometimes lyrically indistinguishable voices of female vocalists Alfreda Gerald (who also tours with the Gap Band!) and Michelle Amato invoke both Enya and the Cocteau Twins' Liz Fraser.
NOT JUST ANOTHER OLIVE LOVER Yanni grew up in Kalamata, Greece, which is famous for much more than just its olives. There, he began playing music to gain the attention of his family and later, from girls. He became a Greek national swimming champion at 14 and moved to the U.S. to attend the University of Minnesota at 18. He recently recounted his life story in "Yanni In Words."