KERANI
Equilibrium
(Kerani Music)

 

Belgium-born / Holland-based Kerani is making inroads in the New Age music world with her latest masterpiece called Equilibrium. On Equilibrium, lush and scenic soundscapes merge into a wonderful tapestry of sound making the 9 track CD an instrumental, neoclassical / New Age wonder. Although Kerani has already released several albums, Equilibrium is finally the album that may just put this very talented lady on the musical map. Commenting on her sonic mission with Equilibrium, Kerani explains, ‘The concept for the Equilibrium album, and the title track, comes from my dream of a world where the male and female energies are in balance and in harmony, where men and women accept and respect each other as they are and treat each other as equals. The music this album honors is the highest feminine energy.’ Apart from Kerani’s stated concepts, her music truly transcends words alone. In addition to her keyboards and synths, Kerani sometimes weaves in subtle, wordless vocals to her music, adding further intrigue to her already otherworldly instrumental sound. Several musicians assist Kerani on the CD including guitarist Romain van Beek along with a range of string players. Fans of Enya, Yanni, Oldfield and other groundbreaking New Age instrumental music icons will thoroughly enjoy Kerani’s uniquely deep and meditative approach on Equilibrium. www.kerani.nl


 

mwe3.com presents an interview with
KERANI



mwe3
: On Equilibrium you say that you wanted to pay homage to women and that you would hope to see the male-female balance on Earth restored. Why do you think women have not yet been given the proper amount of respect for their many roles in society and can we change those things for the future?

Kerani: Because women have been housebound for so long - doing the household, taking care of the children, etc. - their role has become a given over the past centuries. Today, as they are actively taking part in society, women often have to work twice as hard to be accepted by their male peers.

Surely, there are several ways to restore the balance, but one of the quickest and most obvious ways is to abandon our old-fashioned way of thinking and allowing women to hold more important functions.

mwe3: What other albums have you released and how would you compare Equilibrium with your earlier works? How do you feel your music has changed or evolved over the years?

Kerani: Equilibrium is my 4th album and is quite different from the previous ones. My first album, called Wings of Comfort, was released in 2011. It contains 3 long, meditative pieces and is ideal for yoga and meditation. The Journey (2012), its successor, consists of visual pieces describing various landscapes (valleys, mountains, meadows, etc). My 3rd brainchild, called Arctic Sunrise (2014), is a tribute to the cold, ice covered regions on our planet. On this concept album, I integrated live instruments, such as violin, cello, brass, electric guitar and flute to enrich the overall sound. The same was done with Equilibrium. This album features some very fine performances of outstanding musicians such as Rodrigo Rodriguez who plays the shakuhachi on the track “Fragrant Mountain”. Rodrigo, who is originally from Argentina, studied classical and traditional Japanese music with famous shakuhachi masters in Japan.

Then there is Romain van Beek, a classically trained guitarist, whom I absolutely love working with. His improvisations are second to none!

Comparing Equilibrium with my previous works, I would say that it is much more mature. The compositions are complex and layered... there is always counter melody and if you listen carefully, you can detect a third melody woven into it. There is a lot going on below the surface, so you would have to listen several times to hear every detail in order to get the whole picture.

mwe3: You have an interesting background. Can you tell us where you’re from? What do you like best about living in Holland? The country has such a rich musical history and in some respects was a beacon for 20th century rock, both vocal and instrumental music.

Kerani: I was born and raised near Brussels, the capital of Belgium. What I liked most about Brussels, was its multicultural character. It is such a vibrant and lively city! In 2000, I moved to Italy where I gave English language lessons. It was a good period in my life, but musically, nothing much happened during those 3 years.

I have lived in the Netherlands since 2003 and I don’t think that I will ever move again. I am in love with this country. The people are friendly, but straightforward; they will always give their honest opinion. No beating about the bush!

Holland was indeed famous for its rock bands in the past, like Golden Earring, Earth & Fire, Herman Brood – to name just a few.

The music scene is very much alive today in practically all styles and disciplines: classical as well as contemporary. And of course, who doesn’t know our world famous DJ’s Tiësto, Hardwell, Armin van Buuren and Afrojack?

mwe3: You grew up listening to the classical music masters like Mozart, Liszt and Shumann. What are some of your favorite classical works and why and how does that love of the great classical masters compare with your interest and appreciation for the early electronic New Age meets rock sound of say Mike Oldfield and Jean Michel Jarre for instance? Does rock and New Age share certain key characteristics or dynamics?

Kerani: I am very fond of classical music, especially from the Romantic Era. My favorite works are:
- The Piano Concerto in A minor, Op 54 from Schumann, which I like for its melody and dynamics.
- The second movement of the Concerto for Flute, Harp, and Orchestra in C major, K299 by Mozart, for its subtlety. This piece is as light as a feather and every note is in the right place.
- I can’t choose from Liszt’s repertoire. They are all equally brilliant.
- The second movement of Beethoven’s Piano Concert Nr 5 in E minor, Op. 73, stirs something deep within me each time I listen to it. The piece starts with an incredible light and brittle piano melody, which turns into a fierce statement, only a few minutes later. So very typical of Beethoven! He was a man of extreme emotions.

It is not strange to say that classical, rock, electronic and new age music share the same basic characteristics and dynamics. Take Jean-Michel Jarre, for instance. His father, Maurice Jarre, was a classical composer, who wrote the soundtracks for several films, such as Lawrence Of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago. I am sure that Jean-Michel was influenced by his father’s works and as a trained musician, he could have easily opted to write classical pieces too, yet he chose a different style. The same can actually be said about Mike Oldfield, whose work blends progressive rock with folk, classical, electronic and new age music.

The build up and structure of my compositions is very similar to a classical piece, i.e. I mostly elaborate on the main theme and let it come back with variations in orchestration and an additional countermelody... or two!

There are many elements in classical music that I often incorporate in my music. If you listen to “Anchoress” – 3rd track on Equilibrium – you can hear the marriage of synthesizer sounds with cello, piano, choir and pizzicato strings…. all of which blends very well. It has resulted in a “contemporary baroque-style”.

mwe3: Can you remember your early connections to music and what were your early studies like? What are the keyboards you perform on the Equilibrium CD?

Kerani: Well, I played the keyboards in a cover band in my early twenties. It was fun and we did a few gigs, but deep down I knew that I wanted something else. I left the band after 2 years and focused even more on writing my own music. Despite my meager means as a language student, I had a tiny studio with a piano, a midi-keyboard and a computer. Looking back, it was very primitive compared to the big professional recording studio (Kerani Music Studio) that I am running with my partner today.

mwe3: Where was the Equilibrium album created and what can you tell us about your recording studio and who else was involved in helping you with getting the right sound on the CD? Also can you tell us something about the design of the front cover art?

Kerani: Equilibrium was composed on my precious Yamaha Motif XS8 workstation, which stands in my workroom below the studio. The arrangements were written there as well. When I was satisfied with the songs, the music was digitally transferred to the control room in the studio where the sounds were perfected, vocals added and the live instruments recorded.

The person behind the entire production is my extremely talented and knowledgeable partner Arno Op den Camp. He is a classically trained musician who has also studied sound design and sound engineering. He has been in the music business for 25 years.

The front cover depicts a piece of jewelry that was given to me by my mother-in-law. In the official album trailer on YouTube, you can see me holding it in my hand, moving the upper part from left to right over the base of the jewel…. just like the needle of a scale would search for its balance. I photographed the jewel and it turned out beautifully! So we made it the front cover of the album.

Kerani – Introducing Equilibrium

mwe3: Your family has come from various European countries. How do you compare the different cultures, music and languages from the different countries? Is music the international language? There’s so much to fathom! And what other countries do you like to visit?

Kerani: My father was Hungarian and my mother was of German descent. Hungarian is my mother tongue; we never spoke German at home. I picked up Dutch at the age of 5 when I started attending school. Some of my friends only spoke French!

Europe is a collective of different customs, mentalities, traditions and languages and each country is famous or notorious for something. We often joke about each other! The only thing we really have in common is music; and although there are countless styles, we all understand the universal language of music.

Growing up in this amalgam of cultures and languages has enriched my soul and enhanced my understanding of the world and its people. You could say that it has made me what I am today: a world citizen.

mwe3: Your music is very meditative. How do you balance that meditative aspect with the more traditional aspects of religion that is still predominant in western cultures. I think the New Age philosophies of the 20th century aren’t nearly as ancient as the more indoctrinated aspects or organized religion. Are both compatible with each other or will the more New Age aspects of humanity win over the more rigid religious beliefs of centuries past?

Kerani: I was brought up Roman-Catholic and attended 2 very severe nun schools in Brussels. We had to pray several times per day and go to confession once a month. We were also told to fear God. This probably sounds medieval, but I am really talking about the 1970s!

Luckily, I was sane enough to put things into perspective and by the time I was 18 and ready for college, I had read a good amount of books about spirituality. Without abandoning my Catholic faith, I managed to broaden my horizon and look beyond the confining and enforced rituals of a religion. But I am not someone who holds grudges. “O, Aeterne Deus”, the 6th track on my new album, was inspired by my love of medieval Gregorian chants and the deeply spiritual atmosphere they created. Part of the song uses the original lyrics of a 900-year old antiphon written by the German abbess Hildegard von Bingen, who was also the first female composer recorded in history.

So, yes, it is possible to combine elements of the religion that one was brought up in with New Age philosophies. One only has to find the right balance.

mwe3: How did you choose all the great musicians who work with you on the Equilibrium album? There’s so many fine players on Equilibrium, including guitarist Romain van Beek. I know you’re a big fan of Mike Oldfield, who kind of pioneered that sonic New Age guitar sound in the early 1970s. Be great if you could incorporate more of that as a counterpoint to your keyboards next time! Maybe Terry and Mike on a track?

Kerani: Most of the musicians who collaborated on Equilibrium have also worked on other projects in our studio. They are all professionals. Wilfred Sassen for instance, is the concertmaster of the South-Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra.

I had the privilege of accompanying Terry Oldfield, who gave a concert in our studio just a few months ago, on the keyboard. It was a fantastic experience! We have not talked about a possible collaboration, but I am sure that he would agree to feature on my next album if I asked him. I am far less sure about his brother, though. Mike is very set on protecting his privacy. He is quite shy!

mwe3: There’s so many highlights on Equilibrium, especially the title track, while equally brilliant is “Lady’s Grace”, which is track seven on the CD. What can you tell us about those tracks and also what tracks are among your personal favorites and what tracks are getting the most airplay on different platforms, like radio or even online places like youtube?

Kerani: “Equilibrium” is all about my dream of a world where the male and female energies are in balance and harmony, where men and women treat each other as equals. Hence the title. I believe this track has enough strong musical features to create the right atmosphere.
“Lady’s Grace” tries to capture the beauty and elegance of women. When writing this track, I was particularly inspired by the fashion and elegant customs of the European courts in the 17th and 18th centuries. Just think about the long gowns, the sophisticated hairdos, and snuffboxes!

I don’t have a favorite track. I see Equilibrium as a book with 9 separate chapters. Each chapter recounts a different story and each story is unique and beautiful.

According to the playlists that are sent to me, all tracks are getting more or less equal airplay. “Equilibrium” might be slightly ahead, but even “O, Aeterne Deus” - which I feared the most for! - is appreciated by the radio broadcasters and the audience.

mwe3: Tell us about the 2015 Zone Music Reporter awards show and how that fits in with you bringing your music to a wider audience? What else do you have planned for your music for the remainder of 2015 as we move into the future?

Kerani: In February, we learnt that Arctic Sunrise was amongst the 5 last nominees for the ZMR Music Award for Best Neo-Classical New Age Album of the year. We felt that we had to attend the awards show, especially to meet the other talented musicians. All the big names were present: Wouter Kellerman and Ricky Kej, Peter Kater, Jeff Oster, Carl Weingarten, Randy and Pamela Copus (2002), Darlene Koldenhoven, Paul Avgerinos, Joseph Akins, Jeff Pearce, etc. It was a magical evening!

Winning the ZMR Award is certainly a recognition of all the hard work that we have put into creating the album. It has also brought my music to a wider audience, which I am infinitely grateful for.

As for the remainder of 2015 and 2016, I can already reveal that I am preparing a concert tour with a few guest musicians. We will kick things off at Kerani Music Studio and travel to different locations in the Netherlands, Belgium and beyond. These concerts will be announced on my Facebook page and website. Of course, in the meantime, I will also be writing new music.

Last but not least, I have also submitted Equilibrium for consideration in the 58th Grammy Awards. Keep your fingers crossed!



Thanks to Kerani @ www.kerani.nl





 

 
   
Attention Artists and Record Companies: Have your CD reviewed by mwe3.com
Send to
: MWE3.com Reviews Editor Robert Silverstein
2351 West Atlantic Blvd. #667754
Pompano Beach, Florida 33066

E-mail: mwe3nyc@gmail.com
New York address (for legal matters only)
P.O. Box 222151, Great Neck, N.Y. 11022-2151

 
 
CD Reviews Feature Reviews & Features Archive Photo Archive Contact MWE3 Home
 

 

Copyright 1999-2015
MWE3.com - All Rights Reserved