Instrumentalist Yanni finds words for his music
By Sean Piccoli | Pop Music Writer
April 10, 2009
Yanni (PR NEWSWIRE / September 25, 2008)
With the release of a new album, Voices, the famed composer and pianist Yanni has ended a career-long silence of sorts: He's finally using singers in his music.
"I have been avoiding it for 25 years," said Yanni, 54, who performs Friday night at BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise with an orchestral ensemble and a quartet of hand-picked vocalists.
The Greek-born, globe-trotting star of multiple PBS specials, an instrumentalist by trade and temperament, Yanni had always figured his work didn't need the human voice: It was, in a manner of speaking, already there.
"When I write instrumental music," he said in an interview, "I do believe the reason the music has lasted as long as it has is, it's more vocal music. It's based on melody ... When I play the piano I sing."
IF YOU GO
The new-age instrumentalist incorporates vocalists into his program for the first time. Nathan Pacheco, Chloe, Ender Thomas and Leslie Mills are the Yanni Voices singers.
Where: BankAtlantic Center, 2555 Panther Parkway, Sunrise
When: 8 p.m. Friday
Tickets: $25-$97.75; 954-835-8000 (box office), Ticketmaster.com, 561-966-3309, 954-523-3309, 305-358-5885
THE BEAT: The South Florida music scene He added that he was "skeptical about the use of lyrics" because they "tend to put music in a box" whereas "instrumental music, in particular, is open to interpretation."
So why the jump from implied singing to the real thing? According to Yanni, it just kind of happened.
A few years ago, he met music producer Ric Wake, who has recorded several titans of vocal pop, among them Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Barry Manilow and Whitney Houston. Wake suggested to Yanni that he give voices a try.
"He started to introduce me to some vocal talent that he felt was world class," Yanni said.
They began with the understanding that he could abandon the project at any time. Over the next 2 1/2 years, the team and a quartet of young singers — all relative unknowns — cut new tracks and re-recorded some of his perennials.
Yanni liked what he heard.
"First of all, they didn't ruin the songs," he said of his new compatriots: singers Nathan Pacheco, Leslie Mills, Ender Thomas and Chloe. He spoke highly of all four band mates but singled out Pacheco — his first vocal partner — for particular praise.
"I happen to think he is the voice of our century," Yanni said.
So, is this the start of a long-term vocal phase for the creator of lush instrumentals?
"I am not going to promise that," he said.http://www.sun-sentinel.com/en...pr10,0,5793460.story