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Lillian
May-21-2014, 12:47
HISTORICAL POLAR EXPEDITIONS MEMORIALIZED IN MUSIC BY KERANI

In 1894 the Bureau of American Ethnology published a report on their studies of the Eskimo natives living in the Arctic and their legends about the Aurora Borealis lights. On the other end of the earth in 1911 a British expedition was racing against a Norwegian team to be the first to find the South Pole, but when the Brits arrived, they found they had been preceded by the Norway explorers by a month, and then the British tragically perished on their way back to the coast. From 1921 to 1924 during the Fifth Thule Expedition to the polar regions, Danish explorer Knud Rasmussen kept a journal that sometimes reads like prose. A few years ago the NWO (Dutch Institute for Scientific Research) made a documentary called “Antarctic Inspection” and musician Kerani (from Belgium, now living in The Netherlands) created the musical soundtrack.

All of this polar information was researched by Kerani and inspired her new album, called Arctic Sunrise. Mesmerized by the beauty and grandeur of the North and South Poles (which she calls “The Last Wilderness”), keyboardist Kerani has made a lovely mostly-instrumental album that captures the “Ice Kingdom” (the title of the second piece featuring piano offset with violin and cello). Kerani mostly plays synthesizers interspersed with some piano and backed by guest musicians on assorted acoustic instruments (including guitar, flute and horns). Also scattered throughout are the occasional mellow drums, percussion, a gong, harbor bells, snare marching drums, tympani, perhaps a French horn, a synth string section, mixed-back (sometimes whispered) vocals, and even some seagulls.

The Inuit Indian legends inspired the Northern Lights piece (“Aurora Sky”). “Discovery” is a tribute to all the many polar expeditions. “Norway” was influenced by that country and the legendary Vikings. But the centerpiece (and masterpiece) of this collection is the ten-and-a-half-minute new age opus “Far Away From Home” dedicated to that ill-fated Antarctica trip by the British explorers in the early 1900s. This multi-section composition builds in complexity and power, and is a fitting honor for those brave scientists searching for a mystical spot on the ice where no other human ever trod and signifying the exact bottom of our round stone hurling through space.

Kerani’s music is definitely within the new age music galaxy (a genre still wide-open to many sounds, styles and experimentations) with moments of orchestral beauty and others hinting at space music or performed with heart-tugging simplicity. Highly recommended. Find Kerani and her music online (including her website) using a search engine. It’s worth it.