Hania Rani is a young pianist, vocalist and composer who already has a very considerable discography released.
He made his debut on Matthew Halsall’s Gondwana Records in 2019 and, since then, he has released 5 new works in what has established itself as one of the key labels of the new British jazz scene, including the brand new Ghosts, which features major collaborations from artists such as Patrick Watson, Ólafur Arnalds and Duncan Bellamy (Portico Quartet).
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This most recent work of his was presented with “Hello“, a composition that marked an evolution in his work, with a more optimistic tone and an eloquent Fender Rhodes electric piano sound wrapped in synthesizers, pointing to a path very different from the terrain of contemporary classical with which it was most often associated. But anyone who has seen Rani live in the last two years can testify that her artistry is constantly evolving and, as the album title suggests, Rani repeatedly and gracefully moves between musical worlds: as songwriter, singer, songwriter and producer.
Ghosts reveal an artist finding her own voice, finding new stories to tell and perhaps sharing her music for the first time. It is based on her previous albums, Esja and Home. It shows her creating on the piano, keyboards and synthesizers, instruments that serve as the basis for her mysterious and enchanting voice. The album has something mysterious about it, as the title suggests, an aura accentuated by the work of Icelandic arranger and Hjaltalín member Viktor Orri Árnason (Jóhann Jóhannsson, Hildur Guðnadóttir, Hauschka). The sophisticated sound is the responsibility of sound engineer Greg Freeman (Peter Gabriel, Goldfrapp, Portico Quartet). The album, according to the artist herself, is still warm, informed by revealing and exploratory live performances, such as the 2022 live broadcast from the prestigious Les Invalides, in Paris, which received 3.7 million views to date. “I love long albums,” says Rani, “and I would like people to listen to this album like a concert because it was designed that way.”
If Rani’s debut Esja was about exploring her primary instrument, and Home saw her take steps towards a fuller expression of her art, Ghosts is where she brings her varied interests together into what could even be considered their first “real” album. Drawing on affection for diverse artists such as Enya, The Smile, James Blake and Pink Floyd – not to mention his admiration for his guests – and evoking the delicacy of Stina Nordenstam, the talent of Keith Jarrett, the art of Kate Bush and the probing inclinations of Pink Floyd, combines a lifetime of musical experience into a miraculous, cosmic world. To applaud live in Portugal.
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