Category: yanni

First day practicing after 4 months off to tak…

First day practicing after 4 months off to take care of my newest baby girl. Here’s a portion of Yanni’s “The End of August” which was one of my goals when first taking up violin. Needed a omething fun to get my motivation back!

!!!

!!!

Yanni Fever

Every once in a while, my passion for Yanni, his music, his concerts, his orchestra, and his philosophy is reinvigorated. I’m going through one of these phases now, and combined with the hormones of having a newborn baby, it’s making me very emotional! It started a few weeks ago when he posted a beautiful video of his song “At First Sight” set to a slide show of some of his favorite photos by Krystalan, his daughter, as well as memories from the past year’s concerts and encounters with fans. It brought tears to my eyes so I commented on the video on how moved I was. Later that night, I saw that he was commenting back to several of his fans on Facebook! I couldn’t believe it was actually him, and then he commented to me as well!

https://www.facebook.com/OfficialYanni/videos/1355226377841083/

I made contact with a few of the “regulars” who go to his shows and get together beforehand (some of these get togethers have been “crashed” by Yanni himself!) and asked if Suri and I could join them for dinner in San Diego before the show in April. I was immediately friend requested by three of the ladies and they have all been in contact with me about setting it up!

Since then, Yanni has been commenting back to hundreds of his fans! I made a few comments and I’m hoping he’ll respond back to me again! I want to make the most of my opportunity so I’ve been keeping a list of my thoughts, comments and questions, and when the time comes I’ll try to word it appropriately. I don’t want to look like I’m trying to hard though. It will happen in time. It’s just very cool to know that he is actually reading the comments. And seriously where else would you find internet comments that are so full of positivity and friendship?! His fans are amazing and I feel like I truly belong to this community. The mix of emotions that I feel toward Yanni are shared by so many others, and they are all over the world! I feel such a camaraderie with them, and it is very comforting.

Since 2009 when I was healed from my depression after attending a Yanni concert for the first time, I’ve been extremely careful to avoid letting music take me anywhere dark, but there are moments when Yanni’s music is so beautiful that I can’t hold back the tears! I never thought that made much sense until I saw another fan say almost the same thing. So what I’m feeling isn’t really dark, and I’m trying to describe it to myself, but I think it’s just my emotions being manipulated by what I’m hearing, in combination with the frustration of not being able to understand that beauty and why it’s doing to me what it is, and not understanding how Yanni’s mind can conceive and develop these melodies. Regardless, as deeply moving as this music can be, it is ever positive. 

I’ve often wondered how music can be beautiful, or even how music can be. Consider this, we move along a one-directional line of time. Only one note or chord can be experienced at any one time, so how can music be so lovely? Is it all in our memory? How can it be experienced at all? It confounds me. 

Have you ever heard of post concert depression? I may have blogged about it before, but it’s real! After seeing Yanni, I am so “up” that when it’s over I think it’s extremely difficult to process. Some call it an afterglow. 

This concept was especially difficult for me to comprehend after the concert I attended in 2012, to the point where I sought the advice of a spiritual intuitive. She listened to me and then matter of factly stated that I had seen God. One of the comments from a fan said that Yanni’s Prelude and Nostalgia was “the sound of God” and it came full circle for me. His music (and not just Yanni’s music) transcends space, time, and emotion. It is other worldly. I love what he says about not being able to see political boundary lines between the countries from space. That kind of comes back to the “new age” -ey ness of his music. It’s abstract, psychedelic, and takes you somewhere else. Somewhere deep inside your own mind. That’s the moment in 2012 when I decided to do something and began my violin lessons.

Again, after these feelings this month, I am feeling motivated and empowered to do something. I need to get the creative energy flowing. I haven’t been working since my baby was born nor have I been playing the violin. That may also be contributing to this need to clear my head and my inspiration to get this blog post up! 

“To The One Who Knows” has been on repeat for me since yesterday when another fan mentioned it as their favorite 🙂

A Conversation with Yanni

Yanni’s next tour is not a concert. What?! He’s doing an “up close and personal” conversation and touring with just his piano! He’s playing at smaller theaters so Suri and I are going to the Balboa Theater in San Diego in April. I warned her that it is not a concert! Hopefully she won’t be disappointed. I’m looking forward to it a lot. I’m hoping we’ll get to ask a question or meet him but they are selling VIP Meet and Greet tickets so not sure if there will be an opportunity to meet him organically but we’ll hope for the best!

Suri playing Nightingale

After meeting Lauren Jelencovich, Suri has been singing Nightingale a lot and even taught herself to play it on the piano!

A video posted by Meredith (@meredith756) on

Segerstrom Center

I was itching just knowing that Yanni and the band were still so close, touring in LA, Santa Barbara, Las Vegas and Orange County, so I kept watching tickets and there were still some available at the Segerstrom Center, and my parents were still visiting to babysit so… the stars were aligned and Suri, Praveen and I went again!

I had to keep my expectations realistic and not get my hopes up about seeing Victor and Lauren again, but what do you know, I was waiting outside the bathroom before the show while Praveen was in the bathroom with Suri, and who should walk by but Victor! He saw me and gave me a hug and kiss, I asked if he’d be around after and he said by the buses! Unbelievable. 

The concert was great! The audience was a lot better than Palm Desert, very energetic and standing up, cheering, calling out, etc.. Totally my thing. 

We went right out to the buses afterwards to wait for them and we see Lauren right away. She had responded to me on Instagram saying she couldn’t wait to see us again. I seriously love her! She saw Suri and knelt down and gave her a hug and then talked to me for a long time! I asked if she was afraid of ever making a mistake and she said “um, like every day!” Hahaha! I felt bad leaving her for Victor but we had to give Suri the chance to talk to him again! She had brought a bunch more drawings for him and they just sat on the cement barriers for a long time with her drawing in her bunny notepad, so sweet! I asked him about her playing the harp and he said he’s working on inventing one for kids and wants to do some instructional videos. Awesome! He looked at her hands and said she could start now. He started when he was 7. He recommended waiting a little while because he said kids this age could get bored and not want to continue. We talked to him for a long time off to the side and there were a lot more fans meeting the band. 

Then Victor asked if Suri wanted to see the tour bus! He took us inside the bus and gave us a tour! Suri said “it kind of looks like a house!” Cute. We got a selfie with Victor and Charlie, and saw everyone hanging out on the bus. 

Incredible.

image
image
image
image
image
image
image

Victor Espinola

Ever since we saw Victor Espinola and The Forbidden Saints back in May 2015, my daughter Suri has been enamored with Victor and his harp playing. She watches the Yanni Live! concert video every day and plays air harp along with it. He is an amazing harpist and performer. We have been following him on Facebook and keeping up with his adventures. Suri has even been going by “Victor” and wears black pants and a red shirt like he does in the video!

So a few months ago we made a video for him hoping to get his attention and increase our chance of meeting him at the Yanni concert. Here is the video, it’s so cute!

It worked! He commented on the video and said “Hello Suri! I can’t wait to meet you my little friend!”

We were so excited, but also nervous! How was this going to go down? So the day before the concert, I sent him a message asking if he remembered Suri and how we could arrange meeting. He responded and asked me to send him a message when we arrived at the venue. The next day I was all nerves. I tried to stay calm for Suri but I was a wreck. We were staying in a condo in Palm Springs with my parents, and we only had 5 tickets so I was trying to find another one for sale for my dad as well as constantly updating my Facebook messages! Suri wasn’t nervous at all! She was sure we would meet him.

We went out for dinner at The Cheesecake Factory and I could barely eat I was so nervous. I had never been that nervous before. We finally arrive at the venue, the McCallum Theater in Palm Desert, and it was a beautiful evening. The sun was just beginning to set. We saw the tour busses parked outside near a side entrance, I had messaged Victor that we were there, and we weren’t sure what to do so we just waited enjoying the scenery. 

Suddenly we see the keyboard player, Ming Freeman, standing in the grass taking pictures of the beautiful mountains, a few seconds later, Victor! It was all a blur at that point but we pointed him out to Suri and as calmly as we could, made our way over. As soon as Victor noticed us and saw Suri he said “Suri!” and bent down and spread out his arms to hug her. So they embraced for a few moments and then Suri gave him her card (a drawing of them playing their harps together) and then he held out his hand and said “come on Suri I’m going to take you somewhere” and proceeded to lead us all (my parents, my husband, me, Suri and our 2 year old daughter Soleil) into a back entrance which led directly backstage! Ahh! I was in disbelief.

We saw the band members hanging out and Victor just led us right through security to the back of the actual stage. Charlie Adams the drummer was hanging out by his drum set and pulled Suri up onto his drum chair and handed her the sticks! I know, it feels like I’m describing a dream right now! This is the best drummer in the world by the way. So of course Suri drummed like five beats then she got down and I’m like, omg Victor is going to show her his harps. 

So we go around to the side and he pulls down one of his three harps and gives her her first harp lesson! They play a few notes and it’s so beautiful! He was so sweet and gracious. I was in shock like I can’t believe this is happening. Suri was more or less silent. Then he led us back outside, signed something for us and took a few pictures. Then at the actual concert he waved to Suri at least three times!

After the show we went outside to wait for Lauren Jelecovich whom I had also contacted about meeting, and Victor and five of the other orchestra members came out (Yoel, Ming, Charlie, Mary Simpson (violin) and Sarah O’Brien (cello)) and talked to us again for about 15 minutes. We talked to Lauren the most who was super sweet, exactly like you would expect her to be. She even tried to get us in position to see Yanni as he was coming out, but we were having too much fun talking with everyone else and missed our opportunity. She called to Samvel to come and meet Suri (he didn’t seem too interested, but he did give her one of his CDs). Charlie was very talkative and told us a lot about his personal life. It was amazing to see these performers in this setting and just talking to us and respecting us.

Victor instructed Suri to call him “uncle Victor” and showed us pictures of his Batman birthday party that his kids threw for him. He has four daughters! He told her he’s going to keep her card forever and she said I love you and he said I love you too. Victor is a wonderful man, it was an honor to meet him.

It was beyond my wildest dreams.

By the way, we did end up getting a ticket for my dad, for free, from a wonderful lady who had an extra one. He got to sit in the 8th row! Everyone was mesmerized by the performance and loved it! The only problem was the crowd was mostly older people and not quite as energetic as I would have liked. 

Overall, the best day of my life! Here are some pics and shaky videos!

image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image

What Does Life Feel Like? And Paper Tigers…

The Grammy Museum had a special event Thursday night, A Conversation with Yanni, which you can watch here. I SO would have loved to go to this, I mean, tickets were only $25, come on! But with my girls and already going to the concert on Friday night, it wasn’t really doable. Anyway, I was able to watch the video this morning (thank you technology). I’ve seen lots of Yanni interviews before and he said a lot of the same things he said already and in his book, but I was still able to get a few points worth remembering. He talks a lot about creativity and the creative process and he said that if you are honest with what you are creating, whatever that may be, (i.e., not trying to make something because it is popular right now and will sell), if you are honest, then it will be original, because there is only one you. And then he went on to say “what does it feel like to be you? What does life feel like?” and that really stuck out to me because I can use that. I can understand that. That’s something tangible that I can take away.

Someone from the audience shared about how Yanni’s music has given her the ability to escape the shackles of fear in her life and she asked how Yanni deals with that in his own life and he answered saying that what the fans give back to him is what heals him. He told her that the fear is just a paper tiger (for some reason I keep thinking to myself “paper dragons” but no he said “paper tiger”). Anyway, he said “you can go right through it.” And that was cool. It’s true. Don’t be afraid.

He also said whenever he’s facing a problem in his life, he tries to let it go and work through it as quickly as possible and not wallow in that feeling. It’s the same message I get in my women’s group, in church, in The Secret, everything, it’s all the same. It’s a message I am still trying to learn.

So here I am still reeling from this concert. I don’t know why it does this to me. Why I feel so tied up after an event like this. How do I make it positive? Why do I feel so frustrated? Why do I have this obsessive personality that causes me to try to find out everything I can about someone or something and try to understand it completely so I don’t have to feel like I’m on the outside anymore? Is that why? I’m getting a little more abstract and deep than my intention with this blog but part of my process has become getting my thoughts out in some tangible way so I can literally let them go. I’ve been through this before and I know the stages and the timeline, and this is part of it.

By the way, did you know Yanni has a daughter??? My sister actually told me this yesterday. I have an email that has been sitting in my inbox announcing Yanni on Oprah’s “Where are they Now” and I just haven’t gotten around to watching it yet but I guess he reveals that he has a 32 year old daughter. Crazy! So I’m wondering what were the circumstances? Has he known this all along? What was he doing traveling all over the world his whole life when he has a daughter he should be worrying about? Judgment. It’s none of my business. But I still want to know…

What would I ask Yanni? He talks about entering “the black”, the unknown, the creative process where the music is. I want to know like, in real terms what that means. I’m imagining like a whole song just swirling around in space and he just goes to this place to get it. In that case, is there just a limitless amount of music out there for the taking? Is this a real place or does it exist in his mind only? How does it come to him? How does he translate this to a real orchestral performance? He did actually answer that question in his Grammy Museum interview which was cool. I just feel like if I knew everything, then I could relax, because I would know.

So needless to say I’m a little frustrated with violin right now because of course I’m trying to play all these Yanni melodies and it falls flat and doesn’t seem worth trying. I have to overcome that though. That’s a very trivial and childish way to react. Ugh! More later.

Yanni: A World Without Borders

I saw Yanni for the third time last night, and once again, it’s impossible to put into words the talent, beauty, creativity, and transcendence of what is happening on that stage. Those 16 performers are truly greater than the sum of their parts. As always, I’m left with mixed emotions. Sheer wonder and awe at what I’ve witnessed, love and gratitude for my family with which I got to share the experience, and of course inspiration for my own musical endeavors. For those 2 ½ hours there was literally no where else in the world at any time in history that I would rather have been. Yet I’m also left with a feeling of being left out (for lack of a better term), being an “outsider” maybe, envy, and a feeling like there’s something I’m missing, something I don’t quite understand…a beauty so deep that it’s sad in some way.

My expectation was that since I had already seen him twice and that this concert would be virtually identical to the last one I had been to (even our seats were the same), that this time it wouldn’t be life changing (like it literally was the last two times). I was semi-correct but there were moments during the concert that were a little different and of course it still affected me greatly. First off, they started with Deliverance featuring the voices of Lauren Jelencovich and Lisa Lavie which I truly appreciated for the first time (although I was always a huge van of the Voices project). Then Santorini and Keys to Imagination, in which Samvel Yervinyan has an epic violin solo. This is a moment I was looking forward to because last time he got a HUGE response from the audience (a lot of Armenians in the crowd) and I was not disappointed. The crowd was so loud when he started that you couldn’t even hear him. It was amazing and it felt so good to be part of it. Every time he played for the whole rest of the concert he got this response. I even felt a little bad for Yanni haha!

Mary Simpson did an outstanding job in The Rain Must Fall and it felt like time had slowed down while she was playing her violin solo. I remember feeling this last time too. There was actually another time during the concert during Vertigo that I felt like the music was hanging on a thread and that it could have just stopped at any moment, like it was only a rehearsal or something. Not really relevant but my thoughts. Nightingale was another stunner featuring Lauren, who was even more amazing than before.

My favorite moment was when Yanni and Ming played a piano/keyboard only version of Within Attraction (my favorite song), which was much quieter and softer than the way I’ve heard it before, but he still led into the dueling violins of Mary and Samvel which was just awesome. I actually found someone on YouTube who posted this clip. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to find it, whew!

Charlie Adams, epic EPIC 12 minute drum solo.

During Felitsa, I heard a man behind me say “I have tears in my eyes” and towards the end, I think it was during Samvel’s solo during Nostalgia, the woman next to me fanned her eyes to hold back the tears. What is it about beautiful music that does this to us? It almost makes me feel like we’re all robots that can be affected in this way, but then I think it’s the opposite. By the way Nostalgia was another one of my favorite moments. That’s a song that gets better every time I hear it.

Yanni talked to the audience more than usual, and he got a lot of cheers and shout outs during this “conversation” which was really cool. His message was that from space, we don’t see the lines separating the countries, and that we’re all one living on one planet. If only everyone in the world could experience Yanni, maybe we all could really live in peace. I think he’s truly capable of bringing world peace! It’s amazing what his music has done and continues to do for people.

My 3-year-old daughter Suri’s favorite part was when “Yanni played the drums” haha! She’s so amazing. She was so tired towards the end but stayed up to clap after each song. This morning she woke up asking to watch Yanni on my phone and then later brought me the Yanni Live DVD (I didn’t even know she knew we had it) and asked to watch it. She watched the whole thing (although she said she liked the “white clothes concert” better) and clapped along and did hand motions and even got her own little drum out and played with him. I literally couldn’t have asked for more with her.

So where do I go from here? Go practice my violin? It’s laughable to me. I will never even come close to Mary or Samvel or Benedikt so why even try? I know that sounds ridiculous but what is my real goal here? I might say it was to be able to play those favorite melodies (Felitsa, End of August, Within Attraction) on violin. But guess what, I can do that. I’ve been doing that, and guess what, it doesn’t sound the same! It doesn’t sound at all like it does when Samvel or Mary plays it. So that’s my frustration. In the meantime, I’m grateful for YouTube and the opportunity to go to these concerts and have these experiences. Amazing.

Side note: Someone please remind me next time to spend a little extra money for closer seats! I told myself I would do this last time and didn’t. Big mistake. Next time I’m sitting as close to the front row as possible.