Name: Yana Mann
Nationality: Russian
Occupation: Singer, actor
Current release: Yana Mann's Poemas De Bar is out now on Irreverence.

If this interview with Yana Mann piqued your interest, visit her website for further information and plenty of music and videos.

What is it about music that makes it so particularly powerful as a celebration/intensifier/diarist of life?

Music is emblematic of our human existence, our journeys mirror such narratives through music that highlight the ebbs and flows of our collective journeys which only music can give flight to. Meditation and writing were therapeutic during a covid-burdened year. I found inspiration through writing to fill my pages and fill those hours with my own personal experiences.

Unless it's too personal, what's your own view on life and what happens when it ends?

I believe when one’s life ends, it ends. The present moment is such a powerful place to live in, what comes before or after is irrelevant.

What can music express about life and death which words alone can not?

The intangible. Music allows you permission to feel all that cannot be articulated through words and at times words demean those very feelings that music celebrates. Humanity and all its layered nuances.

When I sing or practice, the process in and of itself becomes both cathartic and therapeutic. The act of creation is where I'm most comfortable. It's a sacred place where I find stillness and purpose.

You're Russian and currently living in Dubai. I don't know if you can actually make a statement on this, but I was wondering if you have, by any chance, noticed a difference in how people from these two countries and cultures view life and death?

Dubai is an international hub that welcomes creeds from all nationalities and backgrounds. It's a melting pot of culture and an intersection of so many different ethnicities. My view on death has remained the same throughout my life, I believe in the present moment. I don’t think it matters where you come from; it's universally accepted in theory, the notion of mortality. But religion may affect your views on death and what may come after.

All across history, many composers have written about the various shades of life and death in their oeuvre. How would you describe Julián De La Chica's perspective in this regard?

Julians repertoire is very dark but always holds a light at the end of the tunnel, his music evokes a certain intellect and passion that I have witnessed and grown to admire.

What were some of the challenges of the project?

The main challenge was that this album was born virtually, but our connection was born instantly from our first conversation. We discussed a lot of similar encounters that we both have shared and deeply analysed those experiences and what it allowed us to both recount and learn from.

The interpretation of those pieces came from the lyrics and the music that evoked such a deep wounded passion in my abilities to deliver on those poetic pieces. The album's songs take place around the time of 3am is special …

… even in many spiritual paths …

… and since I'm a nocturnal being myself, to seek the kind of companionship in a stranger during such hours can be very comforting, intimate and human. Technically I was able to find the shade and nuance to deliver the precision that I found to be necessary, that allowed for a release in emotion which I have been carrying in the recesses of my mind.

As a trained method actor I was able to relive the experiences through the characters depicted in the stories of each song. My interpretation would take on a personal view of the story within each song. My classical training background served as a base of understanding. But it's my own approach that gave it nuance to express more of the emotion rather than the orthodox principles of opera.

“El Amor" is a hauntingly beautiful piece. Can you tell me a bit about your view on its lyrics?

It is a provocative intriguing exercise on a subject matter that is metaphorical in nature and to allow yourself the freedom of falling in love.

A morbid question, perhaps, but would you like to listen to a particular piece of music shortly before death?

Since I live in the present moment and I wouldn't be able to attend this service, I would rather those that do attend celebrate on my account with their favorite music.