KERANI BRINGS TOGETHER MUSIC, POETRY AND ART ON HER SMALL TREASURES RECORDING
Kerani -- whose last album, Stardust, went to #1 on the prestigious international Top 100 Zone Music Reporter Chart -- returns with her most personal collection of original material, Small Treasures, featuring more of her piano performance than ever before, and inspired by poetry, history, ancestry, dreams and fantasies.
In recent years, Kerani has become one of the top keyboardists, composers, arrangers and producers in the neo-classical and new age music genres. She lives in The Netherlands and first made a name for herself, primarily in Europe, with her first two full-length recordings -- Wings of Comfort and The Journey. Kerani then began marketing and promoting her music internationally which led to her last three albums dominating the ZMR Chart which specifically focuses on this type of music. Not only did Stardust claim the top spot on that chart for two months, Equilibrium went to #3, and Arctic Sunrise was #2. All three recordings were placed by radio programmers into the Top 5 Best Neo-Classical Albums of the Year (and Arctic Sunrise won the ZMR Neo-Classical Album of the Year Award).
Following those accolades, Kerani returns with the stunning new album Small Treasures. The music features Kerani on piano (and some synthesizer) backed by a live string quartet (all members of Andre Rieu’s Johan Strauss Orchestra) and a small handful of special guest musicians and vocalists. In the CD booklet Kerani associates each tune with a poem from writers around the world -- Kerani’s mother Ruff Roza, Oscar Wilde, Sara Teasdale, Petofi Sandor, Kahlil Gibran, Monk Kusai, Amairgin Gluingel, Bliss Carman and Antonio Machado -- accompanied with paintings by Kerani. “I have always had great admiration for poetry and how it can touch us deep inside,” says Kerani. [or quote of your choice]
Kerani’s albums are available as CDs and digital downloads at many online sales sites worldwide including CDbaby, Amazon, iTunes, eMusic, CDuniverse, Spirituelemuziek.nl (Belgium and The Netherlands) and Redeye.com.au (Australia). Information about Kerani is available at her English-language website, kerani-official.com.
Here, in her own words, Kerani tells what inspired each composition on Small Treasures:
1. Temple of Roses - featuring Chanele McGuinness. This track was inspired by a poem by the American lyric poet Sara Teasdale who is known to evoke moods related to romantic love, the beauty of nature and death. The melody came to me immediately after the first reading. I decided that the music had to be subdued and mysterious, with a beautiful female voice that leads the way through the song. It is exquisitely interpreted by the talented Chanele McGuinness, a singer-songwriter from Ireland.
2. Fields of Hungary. With my paternal Hungarian background giving me a deep feeling of nostalgia, I wanted to describe this country. The endless fields of grain, sunflower and corn; the tasty food, wine and music; all these delicate flavours and scents and sounds are gathered in this classically-arranged piece. I used features that are typical of Hungarian folk music to try to give the listener a real feel of the country, and in the packaging I included words of Hungary’s most famous poet Petofi Sandor which exactly express the way I feel about the country. On this tune and three others, Helen Hendriks plays concert flute.
3. Sakura - featuring Ron Korb. My love for the Japanese culture and traditions made me create this piece. Inspired by a 700-year-old renga (a genre of Japanese poetry) written by Monk Kusai, this song describes the beauty of the cherry blossom, which is the national flower of Japan. Grammy-nominated Canadian flautist Ron Korb is featured on Japanese flutes.
4. Fantasy in White. This is a light-hearted piano tune with a soft string accompaniment. It is based on a poem by Oscar Wilde in which he described his love for a beautiful woman who is playing the piano absentmindedly. In his fantasy, he compares her to flowers and other scenes in nature.
5. Celtic Mystery. This is a piece for piano and Irish flute describing the rugged beauty of the Celtic countries and the spirit of their ancestors. The words (recited by Chanele McGuinness) in this song are an invocation upon the spirit of Ireland by the druid Amairgin Gluingel, as he first set foot in Ireland. The bridge consists of ethereal vocalisations by Davinia Van der Zee, who also participated on Stardust. Isaac “les” Muller plays Irish flute.
6. Garden of Dreams. As expressed by poet Bliss Carman, everyone has a secret garden where they retreat every now and then, in order to find peace and calm and where they can replenish their souls. This dreamy piece, which has certain elements of Debussy, takes the listeners to their garden of dreams.
7. Where the Heart Belongs. This tune is a window to my youth. I wrote this song in at the age of 14 after having read a book about ancestry. This piece was never recorded or orchestrated until now. But I never forgot its melody.
8. Echo of our Souls - featuring Carla Maffioletti. Two lost souls have been searching for each other for what seems an eternity. When they finally meet, they not only discover how similar they are, but also how much they missed each other, although they had never met before. It’s as if they heard the echo of each other’s souls through space and time. This is evoked in a Kahlil Gibran poem. Musically presented as a delicate dialogue between me on piano and Brazilian Carla Maffioletti on guitar.
9. To the Heavens. After the passing of my mother, I came across a small collection of poems that she had written many years before. The poem I chose as a theme for this song describes two huge poplar trees that stood side by side in their garden. My mother used the trees as a metaphor for her own marriage: the closeness with her husband and the strength with which they survived difficult times with love, pride and perseverance.
10. Reflections of the Heart. In his poem “Has My Heart Gone to Sleep?,” the Spanish poet Antonio Machado expresses his fear of running out of inspiration, but then decides not to give into foolish thought and that he must look into his heart and wait for a spark to light his imagination. We can apply this philosophy in our lives: instead of living and acting in fear, we should all open our hearts to life and absorb all the good that it has to offer. This feel-good composition is an excerpt of “Reflections,” originally a 27-minute long meditative track that appeared on my first album, Wings of Comfort. I decided to shorten the piece and re-orchestrate it for this album.
Kerani was born in Belgium to a Hungarian father and German mother, and Kerani currently
lives in the south of The Netherlands. She speaks English, Dutch, French, Italian, Hungarian and German. “As a child I listened to the great classical composers like Mozart, Liszt, Schumann and many others.” Her family got a piano when she was four. “Slowly I taught myself to play and I discovered the magic of composing music. The rise of electronic music in the late Seventies and Eighties was a revelation to me -- Jean-Michel Jarre, Vangelis, Kraftwerk, Electric Light Orchestra and Mike Oldfield. These new sounds boosted my inspiration.” She began recording instrumental music in 1986. She performed as the lead vocalist and keyboardist in the band Liaison. She wrote and published a book of children’s stories called Cherub (“it tells the story of a little angel who helps children”), and also re-orchestrated 15 children’s songs for an instructional DVD for disabled children. Kerani has composed soundtracks for historical or scientific documentaries and has written piano arrangements for other artists. She also has performed in concert with a variety of other artists such as Terry Oldfield.
“For the album Small Treasures,” Kerani says, “I chose to write music that is closer to myself, music which describes memories and feelings that left an imprint on my heart. It is a musical self-portrait, and a journey through my past. By recording this music, I hope to give a piece of myself to each listener.”
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