“I think I am the same as an artist and as a person. Music is my way of communication and I see the art, the music as a whole thing, with no borders, divisions, or even genres.”
Hania Rani is a pianist, composer and musician who splits her life between Warsaw, where she makes her home, and Berlin where she studied and often works. She has written for strings, piano, voice and electronics and has collaborated with the likes of Christian Löffler, Dobrawa Czocher and Hior Chronik. She has performed at some of the most prestigious venues in Europe – from the National Philharmony in Warsaw, to Funkhaus in Berlin, to The Roundhouse in London and at festivals such as Open’er, Scope Festival and Eurosonic. Her compositions for solo piano were born out of a fascination with the piano as an instrument, and her desire to interpret its sound and harmonic possibilities in their entirety and in her own way.
Her debut album ‘Esja’, a beguiling collection of solo piano pieces on Gondwana Records was released to international acclaim on April 5th 2019, including nominations in 5 categories in the Polish music industry’s very own Grammys, the Fryderyki, winning the Discovery of the Year 2019 in the Empik chain’s Bestseller Awards, plus the prestigious Sanki award for the most interesting new face of Polish music as chosen by Polish journalists. Rani also composed the music for her first full length movie “I Never Cry” directed by Piotr Domalewski, and for the play “Nora” directed by Michał Zdunik. Her song “Glass” was used as a soundtrack of a short movie by Małgorzata Szumowska for Miu Miu’s movie cycle “Women’s Tales”.
Her follow-up album ‘Home’, will be released digitally on May 29th and finds Rani adding vocals and subtle electronics to her music as well as being joined on some tracks by bassist Ziemowit Klimek and drummer Wojtek Warmijak. The album reunites her with recording engineers Piotr Wieczorek and Ignacy Gruszecki (Monochrom Studio), and the tracks were again mixed by Gijs van Klooster in his studio in Amsterdam and by Piotr Wieczorek in Warsaw (Ombelico and Come Back Home). Home was mastered by Zino Mikorey in Berlin (known for his work on albums by artists such as Nils Frahm and Olafur Arnalds).
“One can be lost but can find home in his inner part – which can mean many things – soul, imagination, mind, intuition, passion. I strongly believe that when being in uncertain times and living an unstable life we can still reach peace with ourselves and be able to find ‘home’ anywhere’ This is what I would like to express with my music – one can travel the whole world but not see anything. It is not where we are going but how much we are able to see and hear things happening around us”. — Hania Rani
Rani grew up in Gdansk with her parents (a doctor and architect) and surrounded by music and films. Initially inspired to study classical music, she was introduced to jazz and electronics at music school, widening her interests and as she puts it, “mixing Chopin & Schostakovitch with Dave Brubeck and Moderat”. Other inspirations include composers such as Max Richter, Esbjorn Svensson, Miles Davis, Nils Frahm, Murcof, Portico Quartet, Radiohead and even The Beatles. “It’s what connects all these artists that inspires me, their special approach to music and sound. For me they have big hearts and huge minds.”
But Rani’s inspirations aren’t just musical, she has drawn inspiration from places she has lived and visited. “It’s about the feeling, the general atmosphere, sometimes about memories. Moving to Berlin (where you have the freedom to be yourself), exploring Iceland and the wild mountains in Bieszczady, South-East Poland, all changed me as a person, so I guess, also affected me as an artist.”And inspiration comes too from visual arts. Her father was an architect and the arts remain hugely important to Rani. “I find that what really inspires my music is not the music, but all the other things. I take inspiration for the form of my own pieces from architecture and design. Then I translate this “foreign” language, to my own music and the outcome is way more interesting for me than just getting it from the music. Indeed, for Rani it is often an image or a colour that comes first, what she calls a sound image. “I can really feel the colours, the mood – just like with photography. If the image is strong enough, sounds come along very quickly, trying to build the right image stuck in my head. The music fills the space, the music brings the new worlds, new spaces.