by Ray DoRayMeFa
It was the late 1980s, and my Lady told me excitedly about a new musician named Yanni. A few listens later, I, too, was absorbed into the masterful and sweeping musical inspirations. My exhilaration overcame my innate cheapness and I bought not one, but two, of those newfangled silvery marvels of technology called “compact disks.” The CDs were titled “Chameleon Days” (after the band “Chameleon” founded by überdrummer Charlie Adams in the late 1970s) and “Niki Nana” (which means “we are one”). One of my favorite songs was an energetic vocal performance, the title track “Niki Nana.”
Dozens and dozens of times, my willing Lady and my younger self would cuddle on the couch, listening to “Chameleon Days” and “Niki Nana.” In my relative youth and naiveté, I imagined that she was cuddling with ME. In more recent years, after I saw the demographics of Yanni’s fan clubs and street teams, it slowly dawned on me that she had actually been cuddling with Yanni, and not with me. But for whatever reason, my Lady has remained with me all the years since. Go figure!
In 1992, we were fortunate enough to attend a Yanni concert some forty miles from our home–a memory still in my mind and a ticket stub still in my home (stub #1, pictured).
Flash forward to 2006. I work out of our home, experiencing something akin to sensory deprivation, and therefore began to surf the Web as a serious pursuit. Especially, I used YouTube to discover new music, not realizing how it would change my life. At first I was fearful of commenting on musicians’ videos, not knowing the risks on the Internet, but within a year I summoned the courage to write compliments to the amazing unrecognized talent on that website. I had opened myself to the risks and opportunities of the World Wild Web.
One fateful evening in September 2007, a “new” singer-songwriter–whose YouTube account was only six months old and having less than 4,000 subscribers–commented on my channel, inviting me to listen to her songs. I hesitated, not knowing the “rules” of YouTube. I clicked on the icon–that of the beautiful young woman–with a twinge of middle-aged guilt. But within minutes, I knew her voice was among the most special I had ever heard. Her name was Lisa Lavie. I now liken that first invitation to being invited to Mariah Carey’s house for a private performance. In a true sense, *she* came to *me*! Go figure!
In 2007 I was fortunate to be among the first members of the fledgeling “Team Lavie,” and because she was not yet “famous” on YouTube, she was able to communicate directly with many of her fans (she prefers the word ‘friends’ over ‘fans’). We instantly sensed that her personality and character were as deep and special as her voice: her fan following ranges from the outright fanatical, down to the merely passionate. Her 2008 debut album reached #20 on the iTunes pop chart, and she received coverage on national television in the U.S. and Canada–so we knew our judgment and taste were sound. In October 2009, my Lady and I traveled to a concert she headlined in Florida (stub #2, pictured).
Click forward to summer 2010. Lisa’s music had long since earned her YouTube “partnership” and has attracted a subscribership solidly into six figures and video views in the tens of millions. The Canadian-born singer-songwriter living in California announces that the contemporary instrumentalist Yanni had chosen her to be a lead vocalist on his tours of South, Central and North America, and on a 2011 tour of Eastern Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, performing in such sites as Radio City Music Hall (New York), The Forbidden City (China), the Burj Khalifa (world’s tallest building), the Kremlin (Russia), and–most important to us–at the cozy but venerable Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C. (stub #3, pictured).
One of the songs Lisa performs on Yanni’s tour is one of my Yanni favorites from nearly a quarter-century earlier: “Niki Nana.” “We Are One.” Small world.
And still, after each of her concerts that we have attended, Lisa Lavie, someone I call our friend, takes the time to meet with us personally. Go figure.