UPDATE: Yanni cancels Sunday night performance at GSR
Yanni has canceled his scheduled performance at the Grand Sierra Resort on Sunday, March 13, due to inclement weather.
The Grand Sierra is "hopeful that we can work with Yanni to reschedule the show for some point in the near future. Tickets will be refunded at point of purchase," according to a news release.
Yanni suspects he may catch some of his fans – especially newer ones – off guard with his new album, “Sensuous Chill.”
Where his recent albums have featured a full orchestra with plenty of acoustic/organic instrumentation, “Sensuous Chill” is synthetic, with its sound almost entirely built around synthesizers, programmed rhythms and electronic sounds.
But don’t call this an attempt by Yanni (who has often been categorized as new age) to go modern with his sound. It’s more like coming full circle for the composer/keyboardist, who released his first album, “Optimystique,” in 1984.
“When I started my career, I was an electronic musician,”
Yanni, 61, said in a late-January phone interview. “Like my first album and my second album only use electronic instruments, synthesizers. It’s all electronic, nothing acoustic in there. And back then I was always criticized about ‘What are you using synthesizers in the current music (for)? Those are not real instruments.
“Of course, back then when I was starting, the computing power of the keyboard was very small,” he said. “Now it’s enormous.
There is no stopping it, as long as people don’t get overwhelmed by the technology and rely on technology only to create music.”
On “Sensuous Chill,” Yanni, of course, hasn’t gone EDM.
There aren’t the huge dance beats and bombastic sonics common in today’s electronic music. But he does use sounds and textures employed in today’s electronica, giving this album a modern edge.
Yanni’s ability to craft memorable melodies – a hallmark of his 15-plus studio albums -- is also apparent throughout “Sensuous Chill.” There’s also an exotic feel to tracks like the instrumentals “1001” (a piece that first appeared on his 2008 album, “Voices”) “Dance for Me” and “Desert Soul,” as Yanni mixes in styles of music and rhythms from around the world. These songs don’t go for the epic sweep or the placid feel that has characterized of much of Yanni’s music. Instead, they are more pop-oriented and rhythmically assertive, with moods that are sumptuous and at times even sultry.
“I wanted it to be, obviously, sensuous,” Yanni said, describing some of his goals for “Sensuous Chill,” which was released on Jan. 29. “I wanted it to be melodious, but not too melodic, not too sweet. I also wanted rhythms, electronic, a little bit more electronic than normal. And I wanted it to be sexy and I wanted it to last a long time without interruption. That’s why I have 17 songs on it, and 10 of them are brand new, never been released before.”
“Sensuous Chill” isn’t the only project coming from Yanni this year. In March, PBS will start airing his latest concert DVD
Yanni: The Dream Concert -- “Live at the Great Pyramids of Egypt.”
Yanni arrived in Egypt for two concerts this past October during what has been an extended period of upheaval in the country, which began in January 2011 when a citizen uprising overthrew President Hosni Mubarek. After a year and a half of rule by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, Mohamed Morsi was elected president. But he was forced out in another uprising in 2012. The country’s current president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, was elected in 2014. Beyond Egypt’s borders, of course, there have also been regional issues, such as the war in Iraq, the rise of ISIS, the Syrian situation and uncertainty over Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
Yanni, who said he had full access to the people of Egypt, its cities and historic sites and was not censored in any way, felt he was welcomed with open arms by citizens. Despite the troubles in their lives, Yanni said the people he encountered didn’t want to talk about their hardships or politics.
“The people are so smart there and they’re so savvy and they understand and they want peace,” he said. “They were interested in what I was doing. They were interested in me. They were interested in showing me how great a country it is and how great a people they are. They did not want to pollute the conversation with everyday things you could see on TV. I was there as a peacemaker. I was there to be a good mirror for them as a society and they allowed me to do that.”
Along with the PBS broadcasts, “Live from the Great Pyramids of Egypt,” will also be released on DVD and Blu-Ray. To coincide with “Sensuous Chill” and the “Pyramids” DVD, Yanni is launching a world tour, bringing along his 15-piece orchestra.
”It’s a revamped concert, completely different than anything we did in Egypt for the video and anything I’ve ever done in the past,” he said. “I will be playing a few songs from ‘Sensuous Chill.’ I’m also going to be playing a couple of songs that nobody’s ever heard. I’ve never released them and they’re a lot of fun. So the concert is going to be very unexpected and very surprising for a lot of the fans. It’s long enough to satisfy everyone and I will be playing a lot of the music they’re familiar with. I think it’s the best show I’ve ever done.”
Hear his new album live at Grand Sierra Resort and Casino March 13.
Details: 800-648-3568 or www.grandsierraresort.com