When it comes to the piano, most of us look at it from a classical or contemporary perspective. Detroit-born pianist Arthur Hanlon, however, has spent the better part of his twenty-year career dispelling that perspective.
We at the Young Folks had the great honor to speak with Arthur regarding his career, upcoming tour and his love for the piano.
What makes Arthur’s story so unique is that he is known specifically for his Latin tunes. Arthur, however, was born and raised in an Irish-American home. Essentially the farthest point one could be from the charm of Latin America.
“I went to study music at Manhattan’s School of Music,” he said. “But what we didn’t realize was that the school was right next to Spanish Harlem. A (musical) barrio filled with Boriquas, Colombianos, and Dominicanos. For me, it was impossible to not be a musical sponge.”
This introduction not only created a fever of enthusiasm and passion for Latin music, but also a nickname from his mother, who pegged him as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde for playing classical music one day and then upbeat Latin hits the next.
Regardless of the genre, Arthur plays. His love for the piano itself is the most evident facet of any of his performances.
“Two days before Christmas my dad bought a piano and a half-hour later a friend of his who played professionally came down to show us how to use the piano,” he said. “And I just became captivated by it… And I don’t know what it is like chemistry I guess? The piano is my best friend, my mistress, my wife, my girlfriend. When I’m happy I play to compose. When I’m sad I play to help bring me up. It’s just a visceral connection.”
That innate visceral connection is set to be seen for the next few months as Arthur prepares for his upcoming tour titled “Gringo En La Habana”. Hot on the heels of his recent collaboration with Orishas, Arthur looks to share his love with the piano with his fans.
“The piano is a vehicle to transport the people when I’m playing,” he said. “I’m all about finding magic when I’m recording or playing live.”