'Glad I Still Have Some Hair Left' - The New Indian Express

'Glad I Still Have Some Hair Left'

Published: 14th April 2014 07:41 AM

Last Updated: 14th April 2014 10:41 AM

There is an immense sense of anticipation one has when standing in the same room as a legend. Butterflies in the stomach, cameras, an exclusive party of elite musicians and glasses of wine do not help any.  But when this reporter managed to walk side by side the Greek genius as he headed to the elevator (post a pre-event dinner on Saturday night), Yanni was as warm and endearing as he is when seated behind a piano. In fact, when we asked him what his secret was, behind that shoulder length black mane that has become a signature over the years, he laughed and responded, “Oh, I’m just glad I still have some!”

Excerpts from an interview:

A lot of fans are wondering what the secret is to your amazing hair?

HA! There is no secret, just the genes I am born with. At my age, I’m just glad I still have some!

It’s been close to two decades since you did a show in India. Is there anything you want to do on this trip that you didn’t do the last time?

I am very excited to be back in India. It’s has been a long time since the concert at The Taj Mahal and I really look forward to seeing the changes in the country over the last 17 years. There are some new friends that I have met over the few years that I will be seeing again. I have been meeting people all over the world from India and it is a privilege to be coming back and performing here again.

Are you working on anything special right now... Like a new album maybe?

I just finished working on a new album titled inspirato. And it has music that has been inspired over 30 years...

Wow, 30 years for one album! You’ve got to tell us some more.

Well, it took four years to record alone, and I have collaborated with Plácido Domingo (Spanish tenor and conductor) to gather the world’s greatest voices and record them singing lyrics written to many of my most meaningful instrumental songs.

With the World Tour happening, you have a super busy year ahead. What kind of music do you listen to when you are away from the stage and simply listening?

I listen to music that reflects the place I am at and the mood I am feeling. It ranges from electronic to classical and even rock ‘n’ roll.

So despite you’re hectic travel and concert schedule, a tune still helps you unwind?

I really don’t listen to music on my own time very often. I appreciate the time away from music to re-charge and prepare for more touring.

(The Yanni concert organised by Black & White Magazine, Oman will be held at the Nehru Indoor Stadium this evening. The New Indian Express is the official print media partner)

CLASSICAL RECALL

When folks asked Yanni whether there was an Indian musician he was inspired by, he gave us three words. “Pandit Ravi Shankar.” Turns out the world renowned pianist and virtuoso sitar player crossed paths in Los Angeles years ago, and Yanni recalls a particularly strong memory from the date. “He asked me, are you sure you’re not classically trained?” Yanni responded, “No.” Apparently this continued for a while as Ravi Shankar posed the question a total of three times before he was satisfied with the pianist’s reply.

KEYS TO THE TAJ

Most Indians associate Yanni with his performance at the Taj Mahal, a part of his Wonders of the World tour that took place 17 years ago. But what most don’t know is that it took an elaborate two years to plan! Of course, given that the historic event seated 7,200 (multiply that by 3 for 3 consecutive nights) and you can only wish you were there too. Also, especially for the concert, Yanni composed a song titled ‘Love is all’ and dedicated it to Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal.

YANNI IS A RAHMANIAC?

After meeting a roomful of Indian musical greats on Saturday night at a pre-event dinner organised for the Greek composer at the Park Hyatt Chennai, we wondered whether there would be any collaborations in the future. Incidentally, the one maestro that wasn’t in the room was A R Rahman. But as luck would have it, the two have already met. Apparently, the meeting took place quite recently and Yanni says,”It was a pleasure to meet him as he is a very kind and incredibly talented artist.” Dare we hope for a collaboration in the future?

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