Uwe Gronau - When Every Word Was Singing
German keyboardist and composer Uwe Gronau, a favorite on the new age music scene, likes to mix things up musically. His music ranges from new age to space, from jazzy to progressive-rock, from ambient or avant-garde to extremely melodic with pop sensibilities. Much of his music is instrumental, but sometimes he sings.
He has been influenced by authors, mathematicians, philosophers, poets and painters in addition to musicians. Sometimes his music is inspired by a look into the future, sometimes by a tree or the weather right in front of him serving at that moment as inspiration, and sometimes by remembrances of the past.
Like a pot of stew with many different ingredients, Gronau's latest album, When Every Word Was Singing, is a delectable combination of flavors. Gronau -- who is known for his versatility, eclecticism, progressive melodies and production capabilities -- might play soft and gentle on one tune, and then pack the power and flamboyance of progressive rock on the next, and sometimes within the same piece. On When Every Word Was Singing, nine of the tunes are instrumentals and seven of them have vocals.
For the music, he got inspiration from dreams, childhood, love, nature, politicians, bullfights and fantasies; and he also tips his hat to David Bowie and Michael Jackson. Gronau's popularity continues to grow. His last album, Paradise Painting, received the Zone Music Reporter "Best Chill/Groove Album" of the Year Award (as voted by radio programmers around the world), and was named the "#1 Best Electronic Album of the Year" by the programmers of the prestigious One World Music Radio channel. To create a variety of instrumental sounds, Gronau utilizes several different keyboards -- piano, Hammond B-3 organ and synthesizers (notably the "Virus"). "This instrument is virtually a royal appearance. It regularly points and leads the listener into a dream world, not in a passive way, but into a creative, personal and new sphere of comprehension."
On When Every Word Was Singing, Gronau is joined on some tunes by special musical guests (guitarist Wolfgang Demming, percussionist Andy Kohlmann, and background vocalist Britta Busshoff). The recording was produced by Gronau with his longtime musical associate Clemens Paskert, who also co-wrote two tunes. Uwe Gronau (pronounced ooo-vuh grow-now) is a master of many musical styles with numerous extremely-varied recordings. His musical enthusiasm and boundless creativity cannot be contained. He only performs and records original music that is known for its rich sense of dynamics. When Every Word Was Singing and his other most-recent albums are available worldwide online from CDbaby and Amazon, and from various digital download locations such as iTunes. For more about Gronau, you can visit his English-language website at uwegronau dot com.
Gronau has numerous previous CDs (some primarily available in Europe). Several are mostly instrumental music - Midsummer, Seven Paintings, Sonnentempel, Nightwalker and Intuition. Others feature Uwe singing on many selections - Children, The Beauty of the Sea, Someday, Ciel, Time is a Sound, Full Moon Forest and Time Rider. His latest albums - Midsummer, Time Rider, Visions, Flight 14, Thoughts of Tomorrow, Mystical Morning and Paradise Painting - have been marketed internationally and all have climbed into either the Top 5 or the Top 10 on the noteworthy monthly international Top 100 Zone Music Reporter Chart and received airplay on hundreds of radio outlets worldwide. When Every Word Was Singing contains 16 compositions with the music primarily written by Gronau and lyrical assistance by several friends and associates including his longtime lyricist Michael Hoing. The songs with vocals begin with the title tune, "a song about our wonderful childhood when we had rainbows in our eyes and when everything was a miracle, " relates Gronau. "Inner Face" is his lyrical and musical impression of the island Lanzarote (part of the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa) "with its fire mountains and black beaches." For "Rockets On Their Minds, " Gronau sings "about those dangerous politicians who ruin the world by telling people what the politicians think, and their thinking is sick!" "Rainbows In Our Eyes" has the same lyrics as "When Every Word Was Singing" but different music. "Dream Dream" is "what you might feel when you get out of your body and leave all you know, when your dreams become the reality, when you enter the Big Light, " states Gronau. He says time stood still when he composed "Loving Time" in the middle of the night. The final vocal piece is "Ray of Hope, " composed with his friends Werner Demming and Rainer Triller. "We felt this song had a bit of a David Bowie feeling to it, so I sent it to him hoping he perhaps would sing it, but that was just before he died." Several of the instrumentals on the album -- "Motif in Motion, " "Nachstuck" and "Waterland" -- developed out of fantasy awake-dreaming by Gronau who explored these musical motifs and simply "played what my inner voice told me to play." He says he uses the tune "Never Forget" for his morning meditation ("It helps me to forget everything around me and to calm down."). The composition "Breakfast in Kentucky" was designed to make the listener feel happy, and strangely it developed out of "a crazy dream where I had French toast in Kentucky"). The pieces "Storm" and "Into The Sky" are what Gronau calls "program music, as we learned at the university, where the composer tries to describe something, for example nature, without words, only with music." "Jackson" is "my ode and tribute to Michael Jackson." For "Death of a Matador, " Gronau imagined and tried to musically create a "dramatic atmosphere where the matador dies instead of the bull."
Gronau was born and raised in the Rhineland in northwest Germany, and grew up in Dusseldorf and Bocholt (where he currently resides) which is only a couple of miles from the Dutch border. "In the '70s and '80s the Netherlands were more involved in the evolution of jazz, pop, rock and soul than Germany, so I profited from this situation and heard much great music." Uwe began playing piano at age six and grew up immersed in music as the son of a choir-leader, orchestra-conductor, music-school teacher and piano instructor. In his early years Uwe studied classical music, but soon became passionate about jazz and rock artists such as Brian Auger, Keith Emerson, Patrick Moraz and Refugee, and Joe Zawinul and Weather Report. As Gronau got older, his musical tastes expanded to include Supertramp, Jethro Tull, Gilbert 'O Sullivan, Keith Jarrett, Sting, Peter Gabriel and Dream Theater. When Uwe was 14 he began to play in a series of bands and built a reputation in the area for his musicianship and professionalism. One thing that always set Gronau apart from many other musicians is that from the beginning and continuing to today, Gronau has always played original material and has never covered compositions by others. Gronau's band Sternberg recorded two albums, performed concerts frequently, won a regional music contest, was broadcast on Germany's main radio channel (WDR), and also won a film music award (for the soundtrack of "Don't Destroy the Rainbow Above Us") at the International Santander Film Festival in Spain.
Gronau's next group was the synth-pop trio Fabrique. They performed the music for the German science-fiction TV-series "Orion Space Patrol, " made recordings and videos, appeared on TV shows, and wrote the song "Secret Land" which became a Top 10 global hit for the singer Sandra. Gronau moved on to the funky rock band Pont Neuf and recorded an album with them before going solo. Gronau also is an author who wrote the acclaimed novel Senor Morales, a fantasy journey through Europe. The novel led to an audio-book version with music and speaking by Gronau. He also has published books of short stories -- Der Schneemann von Wagenitz; Zucker, Zaster und Zement; and Avantgarde, Chopin und frische Blumen. "For every musical poem I conceive, I must dive deep into myself, " explains Gronau. "But creating or simply appreciating art is an absolute necessity for humans to live a good life."