Yanni's most of all loved his Phillips shortwave radio, which was made of dark brown plastic, with a light cream cloth covered speaker. Yanni remembered lying awake at nights after the lights were out with the radio next to his ear, twisting the dial through the crackle and hum, searching for channels overjoyed at discovering the world. Yanni could pick up stations from Algeria, Egypt, Italy, Germany, The Middle East, and Greece. Yanni would listen to whatever he could, from rock 'n' roll to jazz to Middle Eastern songs. The experience opened his mind to different music and time signatures. Yanni realized that one culture could find beauty in places that another culture didn't understand. But given the chance, that beauty could be shared through melody. Yanni began to appreciate those differences and those similarities. Yanni's affinity for both grew as he spent more time exploring the world beyond himself.
Yanni was ready to explore a world much closer at hand.
The name Yanni or it's English Equivalent (John) means "God Is Gracious" in English.
In Greek there are many words to describe the different kinds of love. Yanni's parents raised their kids with agape, which means unconditional love. Simply putting it, no matter how they acted or what they did wrong Yanni's parents never withdrew their love or threatened to.
In the Greek tradition, the firstborn child son always takes their father's name. But since his older brother was named Yorgo, to honor their uncle, that left Grandpam Yanni's name left to Yanni.
Yanni's name in English means John, in honor of St. John the Baptist.
On his own Yanni's father studied philosophy, psychology, and also studied medicine.
Yanni's father taught himself five languages. He taught himself to speak English, Italian, French, Spanish, and Portuguse, in addition to Greek. As a result in speaking those many languages he handled all the bank's overseas correspondence.
Yanni's mother's name Felitsa is short for Triandafelitsa, which means "Rose". The town Kalamata where Yanni's mother is from is known world wide for it's succulent black olives.
Yanni's father helped Allied soldiers escape the Germans by way of ferrying them offshore to wait for sea vessels.
Yanni's father always set an example of tolerance, acceptance, and respect for people and life.
Yanni's father Sotiri was born in Mani in 1923. Mani is a region in the southernmost end of the middle peninsula of the Peloponnese. It is one of the most beautiful places in Europe.
Yanni's uncle Yorgo (George) was killed during the Civil War when he braved the enemy gunfire to retrieve a wounded comrade.
On beautiful summer nights Yanni and Yanni's brother, and a couple of their friends would go to the lighthouse by the breakwater where all of the ships came in and sit there on the benches and play guitars and sing.
Yanni and Linda broke up just after New Year's Day in 1998, but after their breakup they still remain friends.
When Yanni was three years old he could remember listening to his mother sing and just loved it. Yanni also noticed how adoringly his father would look at her when she sang. Even at the tender age of three, Yanni made a mental note of his father's reaction. Yani always loved it when his mother would sing.
When Yanni was thirteen, he use to take long walks with his father through the summer parched foothills above Kalamata, on the small port of Greece's Gulf of Messinia where he was born. He did this quiet often, and as they strolled he would talk to Yanni about life, and about simplicity, and about appreciating nature. He always like to say that the best things in life are available to everyone, because they're inside all of us. Truth, imagination, creativity, love, kindness, and compassion.
KEYS TO IMAGINATION (1986)
OUT OF SILENCE (1987)
CHAMELEON DAYS (1988)
Swept Away (1988)
NIKI NANA (1989)
Yanni/Dallas Symphony Feature & Reflection of Passion (1990)
REFLECTIONS OF PASSION (1990)
IN CELEBRATION OF LIFE (1991)
DARE TO DREAM (1992)
Romantic Moments (1992)
Heart of Midnight (1992)
IN MY TIME (1993)
LIVE AT THE ACROPOLIS (1993)
I Love You Perfect (1995)
DEVOTION - THE BEST OF YANNI (1997)
IN THE MIRROR (1997)
PORT OF MYSTERY (1997)
Forbidden Dreams: Encore Collection, Vol. 2 (1998)
Steal the Sky (1999)
Songs from the Heart, Vols. 1 & 2 (1999)
LOVE SONGS (1999)
Winter Light (1999)
Private Years (1999)
IF I COULD TELL YOU (2000)
SOARING FREE (2000)
THE VERY BEST OF YANNI (2000)
ULTIMATE YANNI (2003)
LIVE AT THE ACROPOLIS (2005)
YANNI LIVE (2006)
YANNI - THE COLLECTION (2006)
Yanni: Symphonies can generate a tremendous amount of sounds, beauty, and emotion. That is part of their human feel and sweetness. Keyboards, on the other hand, give us access to millions of sounds. When I put the two together, the result is unique, and it's not only pleasing to the ear, but produces emotional responses that neither of the two can achieve on their own.
Yanni: I truly believe greatness is in all of us. Don't let anyone talk us out of our truth.
Yanni: As I understand life at different levels, I can use music to express what these levels feel like to me. Hopefully the listener can be transported to this understanding by listening to the music
I'm an optimist and a survivor, and I put this in my music. It is my intention to share my emotions with the listener but I also want to allow the listener to take this music and make it their own. The only way people can fully relate to it and enjoy it is when it means something in their life.
Yanni: I was ready to explore the world much closer. The idea of sex in itself was not a mystery to me. My father was very liberal and open. My father had no problem with mild bad language. My mom was a little more uptight than my father, but although she giggled and turned red in the face, she didn't reprimand my dad for talking that way. In Europe, sexuality is much more accepted than in all of America. Which frankly, was a big shock to me when I came to the United States, because in my experience Americans at least on holiday abroad had always seemed so uninhibited.
Yanni: The first instrument in the house was not the piano, but an accordion. But I never could play it. I played it long enough to get the idea of how music was constructed, and then I quit taking lessons. One reason for my haste was that when my brother played the piano all the girls just looked at him. But when I played the accordion, everybody just left the room. I got the message very clear. My parents offered me piano lessons, but I refused. For some reason I wouldn't let myself to be taught. Instead I picked at the piano keys and found my own way by copying from my memory on how my brother played. So basically that's how I learned to play the piano.
Yanni: My parents wanted us to appreciate our good fortune. Kalamata had a orphanage, and some of the locals thought the kids there were worthless, but not my mother. On some weekends she would invite one or two of them to come over and eat with us. And many times she would send me over to eat at the orphanage. And I still remember the very long tables and how bad the food was.
Yanni: My parents invested alot of time in their kids. One of his most important gifts to the family was an appreciation of nature and of doing things outside. In the winter he would come home tired from the bank, but instead of taking the traditional afternoon nap we would walk, maybe three miles a day. He'd introduce us to the flowers and the trees and tell us all a story about an animal; we'd discuss the weather and the clouds. We would discuss what were thunderstorms, where they come from, and how did they work. If there was any way to feed us outside instead of on a table indoors, my parents would do that. Sometimes they would even rent a rowboat, and take us out on the bay, and we would eat there.
Yanni: When my brother, sister and myself were very young our father decided that he wanted to teach us how to withstand the cold. My father didn't just send us outside without our jackets on a winter day and tell us to be brave, as always he was more creative. My father took us to the beach of all places in January. My father thought that if we could survive the dead of January at the beach that we could survive anything. And we did.
Yanni: Linda Evans once told me that this parental love as she called it goes to the core of my being, that I have a trust in life that carries me everywhere. If that's true, and I think it is, then I am one of the lucky ones.
Yanni: The most embarrassing childhood misadventure that I ever really regret certainly merited my father's anger.
Yanni: Whenever I ever got into trouble, instead of my father raising his voice or his hand, he would get very quiet. My father would take me into another room and he would talk calmly to me. My father's approach was always much more difficult to deal with than anger. There was no punishment. My father would always have serious talks. My father and my mother insisted on treating all of us with respect and kindness, and we all learned to hold ourselves to that standard. I loved both my parents so deeply that I couldn't bear to hurt or disappoint them ever.
Yanni: I believe in my heart that my passionate desire to succeed and the single mindedness needed to do what it takes to achieve my goals comes from both of my parents.
Yanni: One of Linda Evan's girlfriends had a nickname for me and that nickname was "The Shadow".
Yanni: As my records began to sell I came to the attention of a very attractive actress by the name of Linda Evans. We spoke often on the phone, and we met. We began a wonderful and a miraculous nine year relationship. Linda was my mentor as well as my lover. Being with Linda gave me the insight into myself and into show business, and she gave me the support I really needed to grow into my career.
Yanni: When I was in college I played piano whenever I could. After I graduated and in between rock 'n' roll gigs I confined myself for months to a makeshift studio I had built in the basement of my sister's house in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, and I recorded my first solo album. Of course it went nowhere. After 5 years and too much rock 'n' roll later, I made yet another album and I finally got a record deal. I later moved to Los Angeles, where I once again became a monk and lived in my home studio, when I wasn't of course on the road.
Yanni: When I was 14 years old I became a Greek national swimming champion, and I moved to America at the age of 18 years old to earn a B.A. in Psychology at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and played in an assortment of wild midwestern rock bands. I scored some movies, wrote some music for television commericals, and even worked as a dishwasher and an employment counselor. But mostly I just wanted to bring the songs that I heard in my head of life.
Yanni: Most people that I have known and met would insist I had no reason not to be thrilled with my life. I was forty three years old and music had been my career for more than twenty five years, and my journey from having nothing to having everything was an odyssey that made both my family proud.
Yanni: If all of our souls can come together in our music, then they can come together anywhere, and as a race we can always achieve harmony and peace in our music.
Yanni: There has been people tell me that I'm a dreamer. I look at them and say I'm suppose to be a dreamer. I'm supposed to see how the world can be. I'm an artist. I am about instinct, and not of logic or history.
Yanni: I know that our world is in turmoil, but I truly believe that we are on a one way street, and that for all of us to survive we have no choice but for all of us to become a global community.
Yanni: When I see how all our musical souls come together in art, I say to myself, "Why can't we do the same?"
Yanni: I really and truly believe that music represents humanity's soul.
Yanni: My father once said to me, "If the whole world wants to go left and you feel like going right, go right. You don't have to follow. You don't have to make a big deal about which way you're going. Just go. It's so very easy."