Yhan Leal walks the line with light feet. The Colombian born, now Bellingen based singer songwriter dedicates his waking hours to honing his artistic craft. After 20 years of performing Yhan, a truly gifted guitarist and angelic singer, has found his musical identity. Yhan Leal represents a new direction of Folk.
When did you settle in the Bellingen Shire?
I’m sure this is my 6th year, It’s flown by but I’ve had had such a wondrous time here.
- Can you describe your earlier life in Colombia?
Well I was only in Colombia until age 5 so the memories are very dreamlike, enormous white houses, wild rivers, and I remember leaving for Australia in a confused state in the middle of the night.
- Have you always had music in your life?
Yes, my mother sang to me, spanish love songs and nursery rhymes. My three older brothers had very diverse taste in music, from Opera to Metal, and we always had the record player going.
Are you musically trained?
Yes, I started in a Classic Guitar school at age eight for a few years then started learning electric guitar at my local music shop, I loved hanging around in that shop, ended up teaching there myself.
I also started singing pop songs naturally with the guitar at age 8, then took singing lessons at around 17 for many years. I loved learning everything I could about music, I bought countless books and videos and had many teachers, but my high school music teacher will always be my most revered.
Would you describe your music as ‘folk’ based?
Yes, folk means ‘people’ and my ideas for songs are always about the experience of the individual. Intimacy and an acoustic guitar is also very folk, but I also embrace modern sounds like samples and effects, so I call my genre ‘modern folk’.
You can hear those kind of sounds on my new single and video ‘Up On The Mountain.’(premiered on Triple J Monday October 2nd)
- You are performing at the Dorrigo Folk and Bluegrass Festival. Is this the first year you have performed for this festival? Can you describe what you are expecting?
Yes this is my first time performing at the festival, I’m excited to play to an audience who appreciate that less is more! I’m going to play as stripped back as possible but give my songs everything I’ve got.
- Have you got any exciting plans for your music into the future?
Yes, I will be launching a brand new album this November 11 at the Bellingen Memorial Hall. I’ll be performing the entire album and recreating it;s production with the support of mostly local musicians, including an electronic score. Tix are on sale now via my website www.yhanleal.com and from Roots Records in Bellingen.
I also have a bunch more shows
Sep 22 Anchors Wharf Urunga, NSW
Oct 11 Element Bar Coffs Harbour, NSW
Oct 13 Surf Street Coffs Harbour, NSW
Oct 27 Dorrigo Folk and Bluegrass Festival Dorrigo, NSW
Oct 29 Tapp Bar, Port Panthers Sydney, NSW
Nov 03 Twilight Food Market Coffs Harbour, NSW
Nov 11 Bellingen Memorial Hall Bellingen, NSW
Dec 01 Yamba Bowling Club Yamba, NSW
Dec 05 Sea Breeze Beach Hotel Hat Head, NSW
- Tell us about the moment you decided to become a Composer What did your family have to say about it?
Music has been my passion my whole life, it’s always been who I am. I began playing saxophone in 6th grade, played my first sax solo in 8th grade jazz band, and also started composing my own music about that same time. My desire to continue performing and writing grew naturally from there. I also developed an early love of the Native American flute, and composed my first flute song “Shaman’s Dream” before owning a flute. I received a flute as a gift in my mid-20’s, and eventually recorded that song with it, which later ended up on my first album “Pathways.” I’m very grateful that my family has always been extremely supportive of my music interests, and encouraged me to follow my own path. They continue to hold an important place in my life today, and have been vital to my musical success.
2. What inspired you to become an artist and who are your early influences?
My earliest inspirational memory was of Chip Davis’ Mannheim Steamroller. I distinctly remember thinking “I want to write music like that!” I admired the way he combined technology and synthesizers with traditional symphonic instrumentation. Soon after, I discovered Kitaro, who used the same magical combination but with a uniquely beautiful result. Compositions by John Williams, Michael Kamen and Harold Faltermeyer always held my attention, too; I love cinematic music. Other early influences included The Cars because of their complex musical layers, the dreamlike sound of Loreena McKennitt, the synth sounds of Tangerine Dream, and of course David Sanborn and his saxophone, which I listened to obsessively for years. I also listened to a lot of contemporary jazz, 50’s rock, and even classical.
3. What is the first record you bought and why?
The first record I bought was a 45 and I was 9 years old. I bought the J. Geils Band’s “Freeze Frame” because of that catchy keyboard line and of course the horn section. That was back when a lot of popular music had horn sections. I still have that record somewhere. I loved that record store. I could have spent hours in there.
4. Fave film? Fave Book? Fave place?
Favorite film: I’m a movie nut and my tastes vary widely, so I have a lot of favorite films, many of them in the sci-fi and fantasy genres, such as the “Lord of the Rings” series, “The Fifth Element,” “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “The Princess Bride”.
Favorite book: “Dancing Wu Li Masters: An Overview of the New Physics” by Gary Zukav, which was my introduction to quantum physics. I’m fascinated by physics, the Universe and nature, and a lot of my music reflects these ideas.
Favorite place: I love water, so anywhere with a waterfall, a lake, the ocean.
5. Tell us a little about your writing process for ETHEREUM,?
My writing process is rather organic and flexible. Sometimes I’ll start with a melody that keeps running through my mind and keeps me awake at night. Sometimes I’ll lay down a bass line or percussion track and build the song around that. And other times it’s a chord progression and the mood or feeling that surrounds it. I love to experiment with sounds and instrumentation that aren’t typically played together, to release myself from what’s expected. I also give myself permission to start over if something isn’t working for me. Most of my music is inspired by nature, emotions, and experiences; it’s how I best express myself — through music.
6. What are your future plans for 2017/2018?
I’m currently working on a new album which will be primarily new age saxophone, due for release in early 2018. I’m very excited about that, it’s something I’ve had on my mind for years. I’ll be teaching again at several flute schools in 2018. And of course I’ll continue performing all of my world flute music, as well as my new sax music next year, in addition to playing with other bands – always more performing!
Described as “the cover girl for self-made, heart-warming, gut-vomiting indie chicks” (Village Voice USA), alternative singer/songwriter Diana Anaid returns with the highly anticipated catchy 1st single Can’t Apologise from the Forthcoming album My Queen, produced by Steve James (Screaming Jets/Skunkhour/Sex Pistols).
The video clip for Can’t Apologise was directed by Rock N Roll Hall of Fame recipient Nick Egan (Oasis, Duran Duran) and shot on location in Los Angeles at Topanga Canyon.
The Video was premiered by TheMusic in August - here
The Album My Queen is out September 15 – preview here
Then Diana heads out on Tour Presented by ‘TheMusic’ to support the release with dates including-
Sunday 17th September Nimbin Roots Fest (DUO) . 2.30pm Nimbin Bush Theatre stage & 9pm Phoenix Rising Cafe stage
Thursday 12th October The Tivoli, Brisbane Opening for Adam and the Ants
Friday 13th October Enmore Theatre, Sydney Opening for Adam and the Ants
Sunday 15th October The Palais Theatre, Melbourne Opening for Adam and the Ants
Monday 16th October Metropolis, Fremantle Opening for Adam and the Ants
Sunday 22nd October Cruelty Free Festival Sydney Headline act (SOLO)
Nov Wed 1st- Fri 3rd Australian Music Week Cronulla Sydney BAND SHOWCASE SET (TRIO)
Nov Sun 12th World Vegan Day Melbourne Headline act (SOLO)
Diana Recently spoke to Foghorn Media about the new album, her early influences and what inspires her
This album of thoughtfully chosen songs was written during a brief hiatus from the industry, time that I spent reconnecting with family and with my love of writing. The first song Into Your Heart speaks of my never-ending love for my transgender sister and my wish for a more compassionate world for her. This is my first real falsetto attempt since 1999’s Blues Singer.”
First single “’Can’t Apologise’ relates to the dilemma faced by friends tempted to take it to the next level. What happens when he/she gets with someone else, sacrificing both the relationship and the friendship? How DO you have your cake and eat it too??”
Tell us about the moment you decided to become a singer- Having creative older siblings I was encouraged to listen to different styles of music and was always singing and picking up different instruments. What did your family have to say about it? My dad was supa supportive, even buying me my first guitar- although he did hock it a week later.
What inspired you to become an artist and who are your early influences? Inspired by the cathartic nature of music, lyrical songwriting in particular, it was the poets of the 20th century who influenced me the most; Loeonard Cohan, Jim Morrison, Bob Dylan.
Your bio mentions that you took a lot of lyrical inspiration from your sisters transgender journey, can you tell us a little more about that? More than half of the songs on My Queen are dedicated or inspired by her recent inspiring transformation
What current Australian(or Local) acts inspire you and why? What international acts?-Sia is a fantastic inspirational act to me, as are sooo many Australian artists like Courtney Barnett, The Waifs and John Butler. International acts like Lily Allen, Lorde and Patti Smith.
Fave film? I love watching comedy and Australian made movies.
Fave Book? The Thesauraus, followed closely by the dictionary, but I pretty much LOVE the thesaurus.
Fave place? Melbourne; funky cafes with great food, awesome venues, can’t get enough.
Fave animal or pet? I love wild animals, wildlife and even feral city critters. I always have some sort of connection with the animals in the area where I am touring; We saved a possums life that was stuck under our car, hurridly rushing it to the Bondi vet before it closed at 9pm, and just missing the start of our gig down the road. I was also offered a miniature horse in Tasmania, with full intention to bring it back on the plane as my seeing-eye-horse
Diana’s career highlights include US Billboard Top 40 placement, 5 ARIA nominations, 2 inclusions in Triple J’s Hottest 100 and sets at the BDO, Falls, Vans Warped, Woodford and Byron Blues Fest.
Anaid is a stand-out musician who “continues delivering authentic, original music” (Kathy McCabe)”,
and is a pioneer of a “Different kind of girl power” (Music Network)
“There’s only one Diana Anaid”. (Iain Sheddon)
Flying Free Album Release September 1 (MGM) CD and Digital(14 tracks)
Album Launch Event Details
Springtime Soirée at Cranlana
Tuesday 19 September 2017
5:30 for 6pm – 8pm
Cranlana, 62 Clendon Rd, Toorak, VIC
Simply email for an invite.
On the eve of the First Single and Title Track from her new Album ‘Flying Free’ (Out on MGM Friday July 21) we have a chat with Tania De Jong (AM)….
- Tell us about the moment you decided to become a singer? What did your family have to say about it?
When I got the lead role in Oklahoma, the school musical – I was 17. Please see question 4. My family were supportive but encouraged me to do a stable degree first as a back up as my grand parents were artists and being an artist is a hard life, especially in Australia. So I did a Law Degree and also went to Opera School, coached tennis (to earn money as I was a top tennis player). Then I set up my group Pot-Pourri in 1987 with another student at Opera School, Jonathan Morton. He sings in a couple of songs on this CD.
2. What inspired you to become an artist and who are your early influences?
My grandmother invented the original foldable umbrella in Vienna in 1929 and my grandfather was an acclaimed sculptor. My great aunt was a renowned actress on the Paris stage. My mother is a writer and creator.
Art, music and invention runs through my family DNA.
See more here:
Visit The Duldig Studio (DGR charitable organisation) where my grandparents’ work now resides (as well as in galleries around the world) and be inspired by their extraordinary story of escape and survival. The Studio (which is my grandparents’ former home often reminds people of the Anne Frank House in Holland.
My mother’s book “Driftwood” telling the story will be launched August 20 2017 a month before my CD launch.
WATCH these short beautiful videos for more background and inspiration:
Against all Odds https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2j8HxQrhfyg
Flirt – The Magical Umbrella of the Sculptress https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25gVCAHrBJY&feature=youtu.be
3. Tell us a little about your writing process, how does a song come along? What gets you going creatively?
It’s usually being in a beautiful place connected to divine consciousness, a higher spiritual energy emanating through nature and then transmitting to me in the form of lyrics. Flying Free lyrics came into my head at Macchu Picchu as I was imagining a gathering of all the people who were most special to me. That sense of being connected to all that is. Everlasting Light lyrics came after my first experience with psychedelics in the purest form of psilocybin. I realised that we are all continuing light and felt this amazing, enormous love and connection to the circle of life.
4. Tell us more?
PLEASE be inspired by my TED Talk which tells the below story and much more:
5. Favourite artists of all time?
Abba, The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, The Beatles and John Lennon’s Imagine, Louis Armstrong, Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah
6. Fave Book? Fave pet?.
I love dogs and had a beloved poodle cross till last year. A favourite book is “Racing in the rain” which sees the meaning of life and human relationships from a dog’s point of view.
7. Fave food or drink and is there a story associated with that?
Superfood junkie – love wheatgrass and maca and coconut oil and aloe vera juice and green organic vegetables. I famously asked for a Bok Choi Burger at MacDonalds when I was on tour with my group pot-Pourri – based on a dare from them!
8. What are your future plans for 2017/2018?
Launching this CD and confirming more singing and speaking gigs in Australia and globally, including concerts, singing at events where people do not expect it, getting the whole audience singing and finding their voice.
I sang in Vienna at the Kursalon the other week and had an awesome response. I hope to do more singing in Europe and USA and Asia. I’ve performed all over the world with my group Pot-Pourri in the past and we still do gigs all over the place
FLYING FREE RELEASE DETAILS
Official Worldwide Release Date Flying Free Single July 21(MGM) Digital Only
Flying Free Album Release September 1 (MGM) CD and Digital(14 tracks)
Australia’s very own Contemporary Instrumental success story Fiona Joy will release her new Audiophile Album ‘Into The Mist’ as part of both the LA Audiophile Show (including The Sony-sponsored Hi-Resolution Magic Bus) next month and The Australian HiFi Show where she will perform live at The Intercontinental Sydney in late July.
Into the mist epitomizes the art of contemporary solo piano recording in today’s market.
This is Fiona’s second album to be released on Blue Coast Records where once again she teams up with Cookie Marenko, Producer and Engineer, who is well known for her contributions to the world of Audiophile recordings ever since her early years at Windham Hill under the watchful eye of Will Ackerman.
Fiona brings calm, sensual and delightful sensations to her unique compositions on “Into The Mist’ .Performing on an 1885 Steinway Grand Fiona’s talent is evident in her control of the instrument.
Her previous solo piano album Signature –Solo received critical acclaim by topping ZMR’s radio chart in 2016 and winning the Award the ‘Best Piano Album’ in the same year.
Into The Mist was recorded in the Highest Fidelity Possible, a new format DSD (Direct Stream Digital). Her choice to make the album in this format and utilize new recording technologies makes her both a pioneer and role model for other musicians to follow.
Producer Cookie Marenko said
“Not all artists are as easy as Fiona to work with. One of the reasons I enjoy her so much is because she let’s me do my job…. produce a great record filled with passion and emotion.”
Fiona Joy said
“It was truly an amazing experience working with Cookie again and her label Blue Coast Records (content Partners with Sony for Hi-Res) plans to officially launch Into the Mist with a customized event for our friends and supporters. We will have exclusive access to Sony-sponsored Hi-Resolution Magic Bus - built by Jon Whitledge, its known as the world’s best car stereo. I can’t wait….”
Into the Mist: Release details:
Official Worldwide Release Date June 2nd(Blue Coast/Sony SACD)
LA Audiophile Show – Sheraton Gateway Hotel LA Airport
3rd June 3-5pm (Show runs 2nd – 4th June).
The Magic Bus will be location at the front of the Hotel.
Australian HiFI Show
Featuring Live Piano Performances by Fiona Joy
Intercontinental Sydney July 28-30
Interview Recorded in the Magic Bus
Click the images below to Checkout two of the tunes/videos from the album
The feel of Into the Mist brings back to my mind…immediately…the wonderful years of Windham Hill, when I could buy an LP (or later, a CD) with complete confidence that I was going to love it. Fiona’s piano, recorded to Quad DSD, is simply there, and Cookie’s mastery in the audio arts is no less than Fiona’s on piano. Together they give us a quiet tour of creative force, without sonic compromise.
Dr David Robinson- Editor in Chief Positive Feedback Mag
Tell us about the moment you decided to become a singer/writer? What did your family have to say about it?
I actually got into music from a very early age. I did the obligatory recorder and piano lessons, and my older sister and I used to make up songs and put on shows for our parents. However, the turning point for me was when my sister started taking guitar lessons when I was 8 years old (she was 11 at the time) and because I wanted to be just like her I begged my mom to let me go as well. I did acoustic lessons for 4 years and then went on to learn electric with another teacher, who encouraged me to record my first EP at the age of 12. My parents have both been extremely supportive of me throughout, driving me to gigs when I was a teen and coming along to cheer me on.
What inspired you to become an artist and who are your early influences?
I was very lucky to grow up with parents who loved music. My mother has always been into her rock music like the Stones, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple, while my dad loves his soul music. I loved the classics like Etta James and Dusty Springfield but my passion always lay in rock music. I greatly admire Joan Jett, I’m a huge fan of Jefferson Airplane and Fleetwood Mac are an all time favourite of mine.
Tell us a little about your writing process, how does a song come along? What gets you going creatively?
When I’m writing solo stuff I usually start from the vocal melody up. I find a phrase or a line that really speaks to me and then I write around it. While in the band however it’s a lot more collaborative. Either Raff has a really good idea and fleshes it out or he gives it to me to do the vocal lines, as well as some great tunes that were born out of a jam session and a killer riff that we’ve just run with, much like Cheating Heart our current single (LISTEN HERE)
What current Local acts inspire you and why? What international acts?
I love Alpine because they’re quirky and fun. They mirror a lot of the attitude that I loved so much in No Doubt so it’s a throwback to my teens. Internationally I’m heavily influenced by The Donnas and Adele.
What are your future plans for 2017/2018?
At the moment we’re focussing on Aurora and getting some good mileage out of it because to be honest it’s a pretty solid album. We have already started tentatively looking at some new songs for the next album but we’re also bringing some old songs from Ascendancy and Autonomic out for our sets to keep things new and exciting for our fans.