Kerani has just released an album called “Small Treasures”. It is a collection of musical inspirations which found their origin in emotions and experiences that have touched and aﬀected Kerani’s life. Pieces based on ancestry, history, poetry, dreams and fantasy have been moulded into an auditory and visual self-portrait.
Whereas most compositions “Small Treasures” have been newly written, others that had been lying in the drawer for years, were dusted oﬀ and (re-)orchestrated. The oldest work dates back to 1982, when the composer was barely a teenager. Kerani’s piano playing, adorned with unpretentious arrangements played by a string quartet, and the appearance of a select number of guest musicians create an intimate yet enchanting atmosphere on this album. Genre: neo-classical.
Note from the composer
The albums that I released between 2011 and 2017, revolved around certain themes, such as frozen landscapes (Arctic Sunrise), female energy (Equilibrium), the wonders of the universe (Stardust), to name a few. For this album, I chose to write music that is closer to myself; music which describes memories and feelings that left an imprint on my heart. Among this collection of small treasures there is a song that I wrote at the age of 14 and which has been orchestrated for the first time after all these years. Working on this piece was like a journey into the past, during which I relived some of my childhood sensations. ‘Where the Heart Belongs’ is a window to my youth.
‘To the Heavens’ was inspired by a poem of my mother in which she describes the two poplar trees that stood behind our house. I remember how she used to stand on the balcony silently watching the leaves rustle in the wind… . I could fill this booklet with more stories and memories, but I prefer to let my music speak for itself.
‘Small Treasures’ was recorded with a string quartet – all of whom are member of André Rieu’s Johann Strauss Orchestra – supplemented with a very select number of guest musicians, such as Grammy nominated Canadian flautist Ron Korb, Irish singer songwriter Chanele McGuinness and Brazilian soprano coloratura and guitarist Carla Maﬃoletti.
By featuring some of my favourite poetry and personally painted artwork in the album booklet, I hope to give a piece of myself to those who appreciate my music.
Description of the songs
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 Kerani immediately after the first reading. She decided that the music had to be subdued and mysterious, with a beautiful female voice that leads the way through the song. Exquisitely interpreted by the talented Chanele McGuinness, singer-songwriter from Ireland.
2. Fields of Hungary
With her Hungarian background, there is no better artist in the world of neo-classical music than Kerani to describe the country of her origin with a deep feeling of nostalgia. 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. Her use of features that are typical of Hungarian (folk)music, combined with the words of Hungary’s most famous poet, Petöfi Sándor, give the listener a real feel of the country.
3. Sakura – featuring Ron Korb
Her love for the Japanese culture and traditions made Kerani 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 known to be the national flower of Japan. Grammy nominated Canadian flautist Ron Korb is featured on Japanese flutes.
4. Fantasy in White
is a light-hearted piano piece 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 Glúingel, as he first set foot in Ireland. The bridge consists of ethereal vocalisations by Davinia Van der Zee, who also cooperated on Stardust.
6. Garden of Dreams
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
Kerani wrote this song in 1982, after having read a book about ancestry. This song was never recorded or orchestrated. The composer however, 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. A delicate dialogue between piano and guitar.
Note: ‘Echo of our Souls’ was recorded and released as a single when I was signed on Medwyn Goodall’s label back in 2013. I decided to give it a makeover and release it on ‘Small Treasures’ to celebrate its 5th anniversary. It sounds so much better than the old version!
9. To the Heavens
After the passing of her mother, Kerani came across a small collection of poems that her mother had written many years before. The poem that Kerani chose as a theme for her song describes two huge poplar trees that stood side by side in the garden of her parental house. Her 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.
On a musical level, this is the first piano piece that Kerani ever recorded playing ‘rubato’. This free tempo allows the composer to evoke all the feelings described in the poem, i.e. love, pride, perseverance and strength.
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 thoughts…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, an initially 27-minute long meditative track that appeared on Kerani’s very first album Wings of Comfort (2011), and which Kerani decided to re-orchestrate for this album.
A word of explanation about the cover
In order to visually enhance my personal story. I chose to bring together some family heirloom on the album cover. The treasure chest contains a few pieces of jewellery that my mother used to wear, like her wedding band (on the right). Her pearl necklace and mine are symbolically entwined.
In the middle, there’s my great-grandmother’s gold seal ring. The silver Celtic pendant on the left signifies eternity and refers to the Celtic piece on the album. The small painting (by Joshua Reynolds) was a gift that I received for my 5th birthday; it has been hanging in my bedroom in every house that I have lived. The feather refers to my music writing. Memories on a sheet of music….
Visit kerani.nl for more music samples and information!