Yanni on returning to the UAE: ‘I’m coming back home’

Yanni will perform at Du Forum on Yas Island on September 30. Anis Mili / Reuters
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As he prepares to perform a fourth UAE concert in just five years, Yanni has hailed the UAE as his “home”.

The Greek instrumentalist made the heartfelt declaration ahead of an upcoming concert at Abu Dhabi’s Du Forum, on September 30 – Yanni’s first appearance in the capital following landmark shows in Dubai and Sharjah.

“I’m coming back home,” said the 61-year-old composer and pianist. “I feel at home in the emirates.

“The very first time I came, I landed at Dubai, and as I was coming through the airport the border guy recognised me, and he said to me, ‘welcome home’.

“I just fell over. That made my day and from that day on, this is home.”

Known for mixing swirling synthesisers with orchestral sounds, Yanni’s uplifting easy-ear exoticism has proved a peculiarly popular global phenomenon.

His border-crossing cult has been established with a series of huge spectacle concerts at iconic world landmarks, including Greece’s Acropolis, India’s Taj Mahal and China’s Forbidden City. In 2011, Yanni made history with a concert in the shadows of Dubai’s Burj Khalifa.

“That was spectacular, oh my gosh, that was one of kind,” said Yanni, adding that there is little chance of trumping the experience in Abu Dhabi – “I’m not going to – there’s no reason to even try”.

However he is looking forward the controlled environment of the indoor Yas Island venue.

“Those [iconic locations] do have a special power, but remember, playing outdoors, you don’t have a lot of control over your concert – and mother nature is a very powerful element to deal with,” adds Yanni.

“So when you go in an indoor venue the music sounds better, you have more control of the lights and sound that people hear.

“It’s a great thing to play to 50,000 or 100,000 people – and a great thing to play in a small venue that’s really lean and clear, where they can touch you and you can touch them.”

For our full interview with Yanni, see Arts&Life in September.

Yanni performs at Du Forum, Yas Island on September 30, tickets from Dh495 at www.ticketmaster.ae.