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Hania Rani live @Jardín Cervezas Alhambra - Palacio Gans, Madrid (ENG)

The heat wave of the last few days has inevitably slowed down the city’s pace and has made everything harder, but it is by no means enough to keep us away from this summer’s multiple events and activities, which in turn add some metaphorical “heat” to the actual one. On Wednesday 26, and while Elton John’s farewell tour, which included a stop at the Wizink Center in Madrid, engrossed the local media’s attention, ClockSound made its way to the Palacio Gans building, where the Jardin Cervezas Alhambra space was recently inaugurated, in order to lend an ear to another, completely different piano: that played by young Polish musician and composer Hania Rani.

Yet another really interesting live show brought to us by Estrecho Cultural, the members of which we sincerely thank for kindly inviting us to cover the event. Needless to say, we’ll be watching out for their upcoming events, which we’re sure will be just as exciting.

 

190626-hania-rani-madrid-14Photo by Henrique Pratas

 

Twenty-nine-year-old Hania Rani (a.k.a Hania Raniszewska), is an emerging pianist and composer, representing mostly the neo-classical /experimental music scene - although she doesn’t seem to be very much into the labels and convoluted lines used to break down music into (sub-) genres. Classically-versed and with additional training in jazz and electronic music, her influences range from Chopin and Schostakovitch to Moderat, Miles Davis and Nils Frahm –and that’s quite a few different genres, if we may note.   

 

190626-hania-rani-madrid-16

Photo by Henrique Pratas 

 

The venue, which is not exclusively destined for live sets, though beautiful and carefully designed, perhaps was not ideal for a concert of this sort. Truth be told, we missed some more quietness (the clinking noises from the surrounding bars were constant) and were a bit put off by the strong natural light flooding the space, which unfortunately prevented us from appreciating the otherwise mesmerizing visual effects that accompanied Rani’s performance, created by Pao Durán.

Prominent music journalist and radio host Ángel Carmona took charge of “breaking the ice” and introduced Hania Rani to the audience, by means of a brief interview. Thus we learned, among other things, that her new album (and also her first solo work), “Esja” (Gondwana Records, 2019), on which the setlist was based almost in its entirety, was recorded in her home. According to Rani herself, this had the great advantage of taking quite a lot of pressure off the whole creative process and making it smoother, more natural. This natural component can also be observed in the real-life sounds included in the recording, which become the ideal background for her compositions: kids playing in the playground, birds tweeting and even the sound of the piano mechanism blend in harmoniously with her etherial music and follow her along at her live performances.

 

190626-hania-rani-madrid-1Photo by Henrique Pratas  

 

Rani, simply dressed and very friendly despite her shyness, took her place in front of the piano and, at once, her gentle figure turned into a plethoric presence that totally gripped us, despite the small distractions around us. Her voice, flawless, was perfectly in tune with the sound of the piano. Even though most of the album’s compositions subdue us into a melodic meditation of some kind and carry our minds away to peaceful pristine landscapes – as a matter of fact, the Bieszczady mountain range back in her homeland was the direct inspiration for Biesy  – there’s also a few bursts of energy here and there speeding up the pace of the trip, like a swift flight that convert the same images into aerial camera takes in rapid succession: this is pretty much how we felt as we got drifted away by Hawaii Oslo, towards the end of the set.

 

190626-hania-rani-madrid-18

Photo by Henrique Pratas 

 

The introductory track of the album, Sun, both minimal and powerful, was the last of the evening’s setlist and at the same time the signal that marked our return from the magical journey which we were offered through her masterfully performed compositions.

We left the venue with a sense of serenity but also with the certainty that we would meet Hania Rani again soon, be it at an intimate acoustic show like this one or at a blasting summer festival alongside big names.

 

190626-hania-rani-madrid-1

Photo by Henrique Pratas 

 

 

Venue: Jardín Cervezas Alhambra, Madrid

Date: 26.06.2019

Hosted by: Estrecho Cultural

Photos by: Henrique Pratas 

 

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