I met the celebrated music composer Yanni in Doha in March 2013 where he spoke about how he picks themes from all parts of the world. 
Salman Siddiqui with Yanni
By Salman Siddiqui

World renowned musician Yanni touched the hearts of thousands of people in Qatar with his mesmerising performance for two consecutive days at the Qatar National Convention Centre.
This is the first time the Greek-origin composer has performed in Doha, who is currently on a world tour titled ‘World Without Borders.’ 
At least 15 other musicians from all over the world are part of his troupe. Today is expected to be his last night in the city, during which he is scheduled to attend a charity event.
During his performance on Friday, Yanni was given a resounding reception by the audience. He performed for at least two hours on each day, during which he played material from a number of his albums, including “Keys to Imagination” and “In My Time.”
Some fans came all the way from Saudi Arabia to attend the concert. “I came from Saudi with my friends only for awesome Yanni,” said Hussain at the concert.
Time after time, he was given a standing ovation, and the musician had to come back on stage at least thrice amid chants of ‘Yanni, Yanni!’
“This is such a great theatre, so intimate. I can actually hear all of you. I love Qatar,” he said at his first show.
Earlier, speaking on the sidelines of a press conference, Yanni explained the theme ‘World Without Borders.’
“It’s what I believe. These lines that are in the maps, they really don’t exist. They’re not on the ground. I don’t see them. 
“My dream is that some day, they will fade away. And finally we will realise that we are all one people living in this one magical place called Earth,” he said.
Yanni repeated this message during his concerts as well, which was accompanied with the performance of his timeless classic ‘One Man’s Dream.’ 
About his aims as an artist, he said at the press conference: “I have done 120-130 concerts in the past year and a half. I’m trying to connect the world wherever I go. I’m trying to explain cultures to other cultures,” he said.
Speaking about Qatar, he said: “People have been asking me for many years to come to Qatar. I’m very happy that we’ve finally managed to accomplish it. It’s amazing the way we’ve been treated. The people here are very warm and we’ve been taken care of.”
About his Arab music influences, he said “To me music is liquid. You speak about an emotion, if I hear an instrument that I like, if it can help me in express an emotion that I really want to express, then I will use it.
“I find some themes in the Arabic music very sensuous, they’re beautiful. They have their own beauty. And they appear in my music in such a way that I believe that they are not forced.”
Yanni said when he was a child, he was very poor and in fact he didn’t even have money to own a tape recorder. “I just had a little radio, shortwave radio and at nights I would hear music from all over the world. This way I would discover Iranian, Middle East, North Africa and music from all over the world,” he said.
He believed that his music was understandable in the Arab world. “Instrumental music, if it’s done correctly, it communicates, it bypasses logic and goes right into your heart and the message is not lost because you don’t need the language,” he said.
He said it was only “natural” that what he experiences in Qatar will influence whatever new music he creates in the future. “That’s the great thing about travelling around the world. You can’t know about something just because you saw it on TV or you just read something. 
“You’re here, and you eat the food, you breathe the air, [go to] streets where there are people, you touch hands and you talk, and all this goes inside you and it changes you. It’s natural. So being here in Qatar will affect me…All that will influence what I write in the future.” 
About his new album, he said it was expected to come out in “maybe four months”. “I just need three more songs to finish it,” he said, adding that he hoped to surprise his listeners.
Yanni kept the audience engaged not only through his music, but also through dialogue during the performance. When he performed Felitsa, he said “This song is very important in my life. Of all the forces exerted on us in our lifetime, for me, the most important has been love. This song was written out of that same love. It’s called Felitsa. Felitsa was my mother.”
He also talked about his experiences in China, where he was honoured with a baby Panda that he named Santorini, which means saint and peace. 
Doha Bank was the major sponsor of the Yanni concert in Qatar. The two-day musical event was brought to Doha by Bandera Qatar. Oryx Rotana was also one of the official hosts of the event.
First published here: http://www.gulf-times.com/story/346731/I-m-trying-to-connect-the-world

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