The sound of his music- Listening to Yanni (A personal tribute)


I remember the first day I heard Yanni’s music.

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I was young, maybe 17 or 18 years old. I had gone to visit my boyfriend at his own university. It was a very hot day. A typical African day. I remember sitting outside his room trying to get as much fresh air as I could to cool down my burning body. I had many thoughts on my mind. I was not really sure why I decided to sit outdoors. It was a busy hostel. One of the types outside the campus. A studio flat but in those days, we called it a self-contained room.  By student’s standards, that was cosy.

Well, as I sat outdoors taking in the atmosphere, watching all the students hustle and bustle about their business, there it was….

The sound of his music…

It sounded like chimes.  extremely melodious. My ear canals picked up the sound from somewhere and one thing those ears of mine never did was deceive me.I looked instantly towards the direction of the music. It came from a room about 3 doors away. I sat there taking in the music and hoping there will be no interruption in the power supply to cut my enjoyment short. I knew it was the kind of music that I wanted to listen to.

The chords were so calming… so foreign, so different, so me….

I did not know who the musician was but I sincerely did not want the music to stop. I listened to track after track and suddenly the heat did not matter any more. Suddenly, my worries seemed to float like butterflies on the chords of the music. everything seemed to melt away into nothingness as I listened. I had never experienced that feeling before. It had energy. It was rippling through me and making me happy. Then suddenly, the music stopped. It came to an end!

I wanted more there was no way I was letting go. I had tasted this musical fruit in the most unlikely Eden but I was certainly not repenting of it. I wanted another bite, another mouthful. In fact, I wanted my own tree.

I walked to the room and tapped the door gently.

“Hi bro”. I said as a guy opened the door. He was very muscular and stern looking. My fears ignited and I panicked. I certainly did not think this through. I hoped  for my sake that my quest for this strange music would not land me in trouble, There were fears at the time about cultists in this school. I wondered if my move was really a good idea. He looked at me and nodded. He was not looking too happy to be disturbed I guess or maybe that was just how his face was.

“O boy no vex abeg”, I began to speak but loosing my courage by the moment as he seemed to frown a bit more as I spoke.

” I really enjoyed the piece of music you just played. You have such fantastic taste in music. Please I hope you will not mind telling me the name of the artist?” He seemed to relax a bit and even smiled to prove it.

“Yanni”. Thanks, I did not realise anyone else was listening. People don’t usually like my type of music around here. They call it weird and boring because it is not hip- hop”, he said.

We both laughed.

“They need their heads testing”. I said thanking him for the information.

” I have never seen you here before”, he began saying as he took a step outside his door. That was the scary thing about asking boys simple questions back then in school. I hoped he was not getting any ideas.

“Yes, I am just visiting my boyfriend”. I said smiling, knowing I had burnt any cable of attachment he was intending to throw my way.

“Nice one. I hope he knows he is a lucky guy. Only a few ladies with class appreciate my music”. he said.

“Thanks”, I smiled shyly.

Well sorry guys, that’s all I get to tell you about my first Yanni encounter over 15 years ago now.

I have not stopped listening to Yanni ever since.

Many have also discovered him through me which is an absolute privilege. He is just an amazing composer. Recently, I had the priviledge of watching him play and it was an even more mind blowing experience. He is one of those people that you could listen to all day.

He is as talented as he is inspiring. He seems very interested in connecting personally with his audience. He does not just throw the music at you but gives you some background to nearly each piece. This gives substance to the music. There is no sweeter feeling than eavesdropping on the reason why artists create their pieces.

Were they happy, sad, heartbroken or in love when they created the piece?

Filling up the human curiousity, giving us the gossip behind the scenes makes the experience even more memorable and remarkable to us as listeners. While you can enjoy the piece as you want, telling us the story behind the piece gives us the added advantage of enjoying it as the artist intended for it to be enjoyed when he was creating the piece.

He is also a very spiritual person and puts a lot of thought into his work. He obviously makes a very strong connection with a being higher than him to be able to create each of those mind blowing sounds. In fact what I find most intriguing is the fact that he creates every piece of sound in each piece he presents. I have some favourites and I invite you to listen to them too. These are top on my Yanni playlist.

Deliverance, Playing by heart, Playtime, Rainmaker, Nightingale, Nostalgia, Truth of touch, Aria….

I could go on and on….

I often listen to Yanni in the mornings when I take my walk. I experience an ecclesiastic feeling when I walk through the woods, surrounded by nature with those stings and unique instruments rippling through my being in the morning. It’s just an amazing feeling. I am very thankful to be able to enjoy Yanni in the way I do. He has touched my life in many ways. His music has helped me collect my own thoughts. It has helped put my life in perspective. The calmness that sip through my being as he orchestrates those cords have helped keep me sane through the most turmultous times in my life. I have created many memories with his music playing in the background.

Yanni….thank you for everything.

Thank you also for reading.

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Photo credit: Pixabay