Friday, January 25, 2013

5 for $5: Voices of Africa

by Travis Elder

African flavored cues have always found a special place in my collection.  I love the pounding percussion, the melodious voices, and the guttural chanting.   One of the most prolific contributors to African themed music is Lebo M. and with the exception of The Final Race he made contributions to all of the pieces featured below.  Grab you bongos and prepare to channel your inner Shaka Zulu.

Amy's Farewell/Spirit Of Africa by Jerry Goldsmith from Congo (10:28): The best cue in the Congo score, Amy's Farewell/Spirit of Africa features beating percussion, guttural chanting, and singing anchored by yet another beautiful theme by Jerry Goldsmith.

Mother Africa (Reprise) by Hans Zimmer from The Power of One (8:03): Stephen Dorff and Morgan Freeman's powerful performances in this underdog overcoming great odds flick are expertly supported by one of Hans Zimmer's most unique scores.  African styled vocalizations and singing permeate the entire score along with acoustic percussion and Zimmer's trademark keyboarding.  I have listened to and enjoyed this score time and time again since its release and the Mother Africa reprise still inspires.

The Final Race by John Powell from Endurance (11:15).  I only discovered John Powell's score to Endurance within the last year or so perhaps because of the obscurity of the movie about Ethiopian distance runner Haile Gebrselassie.  The highlight of the score is John Powell's triumphant and feel good main theme, featured in the Main Titles and The Final Race, literally had me jumping out my chair to cheer.  Its optimism, the enthusiastic vocals, the hand clapping, and excitement make it a joy to listen to.  The Final Race slowly builds over several minutes before letting loose with the main theme at about the 7:25 mark.  A fitting accompaniment to the triumph of the human spirit to succeed.  

This Land by Hans Zimmer from The Lion King (2:55): Undoubtedly one of Hans Zimmer's most popular scores, the Lion King earned Zimmer an Academy Award and its not hard to see why when listening to This Land.  Its delicious beauty of a spiritual-like quality (I just love the flutes that begin the piece), the delicate choral accompaniment, matched perfectly the beautiful animation of the African landscape and Mufasa's counsel to his young, head strong son.  A joy to hear from start to finish!

The Egg Travels by James Newton Howard from Dinosaur (2:43): Finally, we come to James Newton Howard's cue, The Egg Travels, from Disney's animated adventure, Dinosaur.  The cue begins with subtle bongo percussion that is soon followed by African flavored chanting.  Howard's theme is so catchy and fun that I've found myself returning to this cue again and again.

Playlist total running time: 35:24
Total cost: $4.95

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Thanks for sharing!