'New Age Becomes Old Age Very Quickly': Yanni Speaks

作者:未知 来源:美国国家公共电台 2016-01-24


Scott left us with this musical treat, so stay with us and enjoy.


SCOTT SIMON, BYLINE: Yanni. Just say the name - his one name - you know we're talking about one of the most popular recording artists ever. More than 40 platinum and gold albums since the 1980s and epic concerts from some of the world's most historic sites...


SIMON: ...Sites that include the Forbidden City, the Taj Mahal, the Kremlin, the pyramids - I could go on. And of course, Yanni may have raised more money for PBS than Oscar the Grouch (laughter).

Yanni has a new album. It's called "Sensuous Chill," and he joins us from the studios of WLRN in Miami.

Thanks so much for being with us.

YANNI YANNI: It's my pleasure, Scott. How are you?

SIMON: I'm just fine, thank you. What is a sensuous chill?

YANNI: It was a concept. I've had it for quite some time. I wanted to create an environment for the listener that was a sensuous environment, a melodious environment and a sexy environment at the same time. And I...

SIMON: Excuse me. I think I'm getting a sensuous chill.


YANNI: They didn't tell me you're funny. (Laughter) I'm in trouble now.

SIMON: No. Nobody really thinks that, but I'm glad you and I can.

YANNI: (Laughter).

SIMON: That's very nice.

YANNI: And so it's taken me five years to create something like that. It didn't come easy, and I took a long, long time figuring out which songs to pick and which order to present them in. So it is meant to be - you put it on your CD player or whatever else you have you're listening to, put it on repeat and forget about it. It's not a demanding album. Somebody's not going to jump out in the middle of the album and pull your shirt and say listen to me. I'm doing a guitar solo.

SIMON: (Laughter).

YANNI: Or listen to me - I'm doing a violin solo. It's not the idea. The idea is to put you in a mood that's consistent, that is enjoyable and keep you there.

SIMON: Let's listen to a piece. You know, after that, we should just begin (laughter) number one and play all 17 sections. But you know, this is the news business, so we're contrary.

Can we listen a bit to "Our Days"?

YANNI: Anything you want.


YANNI: Oh, yeah.

SIMON: Some of this music has been kind of inspired by your travels around the world?

YANNI: Of course. Everything is inspired by my life experiences. Everything I have been through, every country I have been through, everything that I have felt.


SIMON: Do I have this right? You taught yourself how to play the piano?

YANNI: Yes, you do have this right. I was very stubborn when I was a kid (laughter). I would not - I refused to take lessons. What it did for me - at the beginning, it made it extremely difficult because I climbed up on the piano when I was 6 years old and started banging away at the notes, not realizing what I was doing. But in the process, I created something that's called perfect pitch, which a lot of people know what it is. But what it really means is that any note or chord or anything I hear is an open book to me.

Notes are not merely pitches that go low, high, medium, low, high, medium. They're exactly that, like a do is a do - do, re, mi, fa, so, la, si (ph), do.

(Singing) Do, mi, re, fa, mi, so, la, mi, re, do.

They are words. Each note is like a word. Somebody's talking to me.


SIMON: How do you feel about that term New Age?

YANNI: I don't (laughter). I don't even know what it is. What is New Age?

SIMON: Well, Billboard - you know, that's where Billboard puts your music.

YANNI: I can see it now. I mean, somebody in Los Angeles in some little office sat around going - what are we going to do with a guy named Yanni? I mean, he's playing classical music. He's playing rock 'n' roll. He's playing jazz. He's playing Chinese music, Middle Eastern music. He's doing whatever the hell he wants. I can see the guy now, standing up going - how about we call it New Age? Well, New Age becomes old age very quickly.


YANNI: I got stuck with that, and then it became a grab bag category. Anyone who didn't fit in the main categories of music became a New Age artist.

SIMON: Let's listen to a little more of your music, if we could. I'd lot to ask you a lot more. This is a piece "Whispers In The Dark."

YANNI: Oh, I like that one.


SIMON: I really feel that, "Whispers In The Dark." I mean, I - it's a nice kind of darkness, right? You're with someone you care for, and you're confiding to each other.

YANNI: Absolutely. I feel the reason that I connect with all these different cultures around the planet is there is an optimism inside me. I was lucky. I was raised in a very beautiful environment with a lot of hope and a lot of love. So when I write music, it comes out. You can't help it. It's part of your psyche.

It's not that I don't feel pain or anger, but there is no reason for me to write music out of anger or frustration. I wait until I learn from my mistakes from my difficult times, and I like to write music about the lessons that I learned while I was going through the tough times. So there is always a resolution in my song. It is not out of ignorance. It is out of knowledge, and I think that's what the public gets, and that's why they like to listen.


SIMON: Yanni, it's been wonderful to talk to you. Thank you so much for all of your time.

YANNI: My pleasure, Scott. Thank you.


MARTIN: And our theme music was also written with love by BJ Leiderman.

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.