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Singers bring something new to Yanni's music

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Hollywood Records

'Yanni Voices'
When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday

Admission: $26.25-$99.75

Where: Mellon Arena, Uptown

Details: 412-323-1919 or

Over a 25-year career, composer Yanni has proven time and again that he can write epic instrumental music that merges the worlds of classical, grand pop and light jazz. With his new CD, "Voices," however, Yanni ventured into uncharted territory by adding vocals as a central element to his music.

But according to Yanni, this turned out to be less of a challenge than one might suspect.

"The most difficult thing to do in instrumental music is to find the lead instrument," he says.

"But this time, once you have, say, Chloe (Lowery) or Nathan (Pacheco) being the lead instrument, my job is easier," he says, mentioning two of the four featured vocalists on "Voices." "That's the bottom line. This was actually the easiest album I've ever attempted to make because of that."

A worldwide tour in support of the "Voices" CD, which comes to Mellon Arena on Tuesday, will give the singers their first extensive test as performers on the big stages of arenas. Yanni says he likes the way the new vocal songs work together with his earlier instrumental material.

"The thing is not disjointed," he says of the show. "It's actually very pleasant. It comes together effortlessly. And the blend between the vocals and the instrumentals gives us a rest from the voices and gives us a rest from the instruments."

Fans have been waiting a considerable amount of time to hear new music from Yanni. His most recent studio CD, "Ethnicity," was released in 2003.

That was a long gap, considering Yanni had released 15 studio and live albums since coming on the scene in 1984. By the mid-1990s, following the back-to-back successes of his studio CDs "Dare to Dream" (1992), "In My Time" (1993) and "Live at the Acropolis" (1993), Yanni was firmly established as the leader of the so-called new age music movement -- even though he wasn't fond of the new age label.

The decision to enter the realm of vocal music came about mainly because of an alliance Yanni forged with Ric Wake, a leading vocal producer who has worked with Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston and a host of other singers.

"It was a very organic process. It was not forced," Yanni says of the decision to do a vocal album. "I became really good friends with him (Wake), and you know, a few months went by, and we decided, 'Let's start working on music.'"

There already is talk of solo albums for the singers (the other two singers are Ender Thomas and Leslie Mills), and Yanni expects to work with them on at least another studio CD or two.

One thing that will be different for fans will be Yanni's physical appearance. Known throughout his career for his flowing shoulder-length black hair and mustache, Yanni has gone clean-shaven and cut his hair. He didn't consider the change in his look to be that big an issue when he did it.

"I went to Greece (his native country) a few years ago, and I have a house there and I like scuba diving. Really, I'm always in the water," he says. "So I was in the water four or five times a day, in the ocean, scuba diving, and my hair is getting on my nerves. So I said, well I'm not going to be on TV for another six months at least, so I figured, let me start cutting my hair a little bit. So I cut a little bit and I cut a little bit, and finally I just went, why don't you just cut it off and get it over with? Then you can enjoy your summer in the ocean, and then you can always grow it back later.

"That was, I don't know, three years ago, four years ago, however long it was ago," Yanni says. "And then I liked it like this. It's much simpler, easier; I don't really care. And the fans seem to (like it). I'm sure some people may be disappointed, but it's not a big deal. It's just hair."
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Yanni Fan
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Thanks for the article, it's great to know there will possibly be solo albums and more to come from the Voices and Yanni together.

Registered:: April 08, 2008Report This Post
Yanni Fan
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Thanks again for the article Smiler
Registered:: September 16, 2006Report This Post
Yanni Fan
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It's enjoyable to read different articles with new & fresh viewpoints; however, it's really nice to see that all are so positive. Thanks for sharing these confirmations with us.

Every day is a 'new' day, full of opportunities, adventure and a chance to make your dreams come true ©

Registered:: April 07, 2005Report This Post
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