“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 an award-winning pianist, composer and singer. Her debut album “Esja”, a beguiling collection of solo piano pieces on Gondwana Records was released to international acclaim in 2019, earning Rani four prestigious Fryderyk Awards including “Best Debut Album”, “Best Alternative Album” and “Best New Arrangement”, in recognition from the Polish music industries very own Grammys.
Her follow-up sophomore album, the expansive, cinematic, “Home”, was released in 2020 on Gondwana Records and finds Rani expanding her palate: adding vocals and subtle electronics to her music as well as being accompanied by bassist Ziemowit Klimek and drummer Wojtek Warmijak. The album earned Rani another notable accolade of “Best Composer”, a further acknowledgement from Fryderyk and with Rough Trade including it in their essential “Albums of the Year”.
When Hania reintroduced herself this spring with “Hello”, the preliminary taster for her new album, “Ghosts”, it most likely startled many who’ve come to love her work. Otherworldly yet upbeat, its mischievous melody, eloquent Rhodes piano, sparkling synths and nimble rhythms offered little indication of the New Classical style with which her acclaimed solo debut, 2019’s Esja, is sometimes associated. Both a welcome to Ghosts’ universe and a farewell of sorts to the past, “Hello” is a siren’s call, and, just as the album’s title suggests, over the album’s 13 tracks and 67 minutes Rani passes repeatedly and gracefully between worlds, joined sometimes by bassist and Moog player Ziemowit Klimek and Patrick Watson who breathes unearthly life into the ethereal “Dancing with Ghosts”.
Rani, who grew up in Gdansk, Poland and currently divides her time between Warsaw and Berlin, is probably still best known for Esja, its instrumental piano pieces swiftly and widely embraced during the pandemic for a palliative beauty which BBC Radio 4’s Mark Coles described as “sublime and minimalist”. Her Covid era “Live from Studio S2″ performance video has now clocked up almost 6 million views. Nonetheless, she’s always embraced broad horizons, far broader than her strict, two-decade training as a pianist might initially suggest. Alongside her classical activities, most notably award-winning collaborations with cellist Dobrawa Czocher (released via Deutsche Grammophon), not to mention her first piano concerto, “For Josima”, premiered this spring, she was for a while one half of Poland’s respected alternative pop duo Tęskno. She’s also worked with other media, releasing a ‘highlights’ reel, “Music for Film and Theatre”, in 2021, and her scores include Piotr Domalewski’s “I Never Cry”, winner of the 2020 Polish Film Festival’s Best Score award, last year’s “Venice – Infinitely Avantgarde” and, coming later this year, Amazon’s “The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart”. In 2022, Hania was asked by director Susanna Fanzun to score the documentary about the artist Alberto Giacometti. Released by Gondwana Records, the soundtrack was recorded in the Swiss mountains with Hania being surrounded by snow and ice which is reflected in the delicate recordings.
Her interests extend, too, into the realms of art: last summer, for instance, visitors to Zodiak, the Warsaw Architecture Pavilion, are encouraged to enjoy “Room for Listening”, a sound and spatial art installation, designed with architecture studio Zmir, in which an hour-long composition is looped and streamed through 25 speakers.
Hania played concerts across the whole Europe, North America, Australia and Japan. She performed sold out show in prestigious venues like NOSPR in Katowice, Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, Funkhaus in Berlin and The Roundhouse in London. In 2022 Hania was invited to Paris to perform recorded live shows for ARTE and Cercle.
Over the last years, Hania collaborated with many great artists – Vikingur Olafsson, Hugar, Skalpel, Portico Quartet, Christian Löffler, Niklas Paschburg, Fejka, Mari Samuelsen, Natalia Przybysz, Dobrawa Czocher, Hior Chronik, Kamp!, Igor Herbut i Misia Furtak, Mela Koteluk.