2018 / Kerani Music
Review by Kathy Parsons
Small Treasures is the sixth full-length album from Kerani, a pianist/composer/arranger born in Belgium and currently living in The Netherlands. This is the first of Kerani’s albums that I’ve heard and I have to say that I’m truly impressed! Her last album, Stardust (2017) went to #1 on the Zone Music Reporter charts and stayed there for two months. It was also nominated for “New Age Album of the Year” and “Best Neo-Classical Album” by ZMR, and I’ll be very surprised if Small Treasures doesn’t do equally well.
For this album, Kerani says she “chose to write music that is closer to myself, music which describes memories and feelings that left an imprint on my heart. It is a musical self-portrait, and a journey through my past.” Other influences on the music include poetry, ancestry, dreams and fantasies. Kerani plays the piano and some synth backed by a live string quartet (members of Andre Rieu’s Johann Strauss Orchestra) as well guest artists including vocalists Chanele McGuinness and Davinia Van der Zee and Canadian flutist Ron Korb. The CD includes a 16-page booklet with poems and quotations illustrated with paintings by Kerani - a beautiful package as lovely to look at as it is to listen to!
In addition to her recordings, Kerani has composed soundtracks for historical and scientific documentaries, re-orchestrated fifteen children’s songs for an instructional DVD for disabled children, wrote and published a book of children’s stories and performs in concert with a variety of other artists.
Small Treasures begins with the haunting “Temple of Roses” with vocals by Chanele McGuiness. Inspired by a poem by Sara Teasdale, the shimmering backdrop of string and synth washes is the perfect support for the beautifully pure vocals and mysterious lyrics. I love this piece! “Fields of Hungary” is a gorgeous and very heartfelt tribute to the homeland of Kerani’s father and paternal ancestors and is performed on piano and strings with light percussion. “Sakura” was inspired by a 700-year-old renga (a genre of Japanese poetry) and features flutist Ron Korb on Japanese flutes. Strings and piano join the flutes to elegantly describe the beauty of cherry blossoms. “Celtic Mystery” is a piece for piano and Irish flute (Isaac “Ies” Muller) that expresses the rugged beauty of the Celtic countries and the spirit of their ancestors. Chanele McGuiness returns to recite the poem that goes with the piece, and Davinia Van der Zee adds her own ethereal vocalizations. I really like this one, too! “Where the Heart Belongs” was originally composed when Kerani was 14. It was never recorded or orchestrated until this album, and it’s a beautiful look back at Kerani’s beginnings as a composer. “Echo of Our Souls” is a poignant duet for piano and guitar (Carla Maffioletti) that tells the story of two lost souls who finally meet after searching for each other for many years. Vocalizations and a beautiful flute send this wonderful piece soaring! “To the Heavens” was inspired by a poem written by Kerani’s mother that uses the two huge poplar trees that stood side by side in their yard as a metaphor for her own marriage. Deep love flows through each note - piano, accompanied by the string quartet. “Reflections of the Heart” is an excerpt from “Reflections,” a 27-minute meditation that appeared on Wings of Comfort, Kerani’s first album. She shortened it to seven minutes and re-orchestrated it for this album - a soothing and uplifting closing for an exceptional album.
Small Treasures is indeed a treasure from the first note to the last! It is available worldwide from Amazon, iTunes and CD Baby, to name a few, as well as many streaming sites.
December 14, 2018