alternative classical contemporary classical jazz Opera piano producer review

Yana Mann – Poemas de Bar Op. 12 Review

Haunting operatic laments from a Brooklyn bar.

Sounds like…

The classical soundtrack of a sorrowful ice queen.

The review

Singer and producer Yana Mann has a fascinating hypnotic voice. She is classical, operatic, sorrowful but powerful and beautiful. I’m not often a listener of pure classical voice but Yana takes a very different approach to her musical stylings that make her haunting and delicate minimalism utterly captivating.

‘La Noche’ is perhaps the best example of what Yana Mann does so well. Her operatic and enchanting voice switches from deep to high registers at a moments notice. She duals her voice together to create a duet that feels primal and otherworldly – sacred almost. The music is an arrangement of light piano notes that barely break into chords and twilight synth drones that replicate organs and harmoniums. It falls somewhere between a funeral lament and a love song but touches the sorrow and beauty of both simultaneously. As a result, my brain goes into a little tailspin of emotions and on occasion, the hairs on my neck stand up on edge.

photo of Yana Mann
Yana Mann

‘Poemas de Bar Op. 12’ is a concept album for the Dubai located Yana. The idea is that each song is a story taking place in a late-night bar. That gives the piano a very light jazzy touch. Working with composer Julian De La Chica, Yana has constructed a broody, intimate and contemplative sound that rarely strays beyond voice, piano and the odd synth. Some tracks like ‘Yo no soy libre’ are darkened laments. ‘El Amor’ instead has a rouge lust to the music and that in turn transforms Yana’s voice. She is just as powerful and emotive – it is just framed in brighter light. Another favourite is ‘Noche de Jazz’ which runs the full gambit of emotions whilst staying so minimal. Everything is centred around Yana’s striking and intimate voice as she effortlessly powerhouses note after note.

This isn’t an album that I think I’ll listen to every day as it is a slow, hypnotic purge of music that holds a very specific space for me. If I need to really power through an emotion or tap into a dark underbelly of a feeling – that’s where this album will rule. Like an icy queen commanding respect from all who kneel before her, you can only really soak up all that pointed energy and truly enjoy the mastery of it at the right time. Yana Mann’s debut is one of the most unique sounding albums you’ll come across this year. It doesn’t have a hook, a chorus or anything you’d naturally expect from an album. It is simply made from a lot of heart and soul.

Recommended track: La Noche

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