At first, it’s a few piano notes. A pattern maybe, an ostinato. It builds, and it builds, from a drop to a stream. From a river to a sea. A heavenly voice enters here. A rhythmic synth harmonizing there. Before you know it, you’re along for the ride, wistfully floating along, riding the waves into an ocean of emotion, melancholy, and drama. In the penultimate concert of a brief North American tour, Hania Rani took a sold out Teragram Ballroom audience on that voyage Saturday night.
The concert featured songs from Rani’s 3rd solo album, Ghosts, released October 2023. Atmospheric “Oltre Terra” washed over the crowd to start things off, followed by synthy pulsing “24.03”. Alternating from grand piano to synth to upright piano, and accompanied by Ziemowit Klimek on bass and Moog, Rani’s focus isn’t on the audience or any kind of flashy performance, it’s 100% in making the music. For the audience it almost feels voyeuristic to the music creating process, a window into the music studio, or a glimpse of musical magic being made before our eyes, in the mountains of Switzerland where the new album was begun.
A big highlight of the latest album, “Dancing with Ghosts”, recorded with Montreal’s Patrick Watson, entangles the listeners in a swirl of piano and haunting vocals and Rani’s performance was just as entrancing live.
Things got more electronic and experimental with the propulsive and pulsing “Hello”, a fascinating song that features a beautiful chorus surrounded by a moody and opaque everything else. Followed by dreamscape “Don’t Break My Heart”, which builds to a trip-hoppy crescendo over a bassy groove.
Klimek bowed out for a few songs and Rani was solo on piano, which always sounds amazing. Highlights of the rest of the show included two other great songs from “Ghosts”, “Thin Line” and “Komeda”.
Words and photos by Tim Aarons