Germaine Franco On Composing For Disney’s ENCANTO

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Interview by Paul Salfen

From The Press Release:
BURBANK, CA – Nov. 19, 2021 –Available today from Walt Disney Records, the Encanto Original Motion Picture Soundtrack features eight original songs by Tony®- and Grammy®-winning songwriter/composer Lin-Manuel Miranda (“Hamilton,” “Moana”) with original score by award-winning composer Germaine Franco (“Dora and the Lost City of Gold,” “Little,” “Tag”).   The soundtrack also features “Colombia, Mi Encanto” by Carlos Vives and Sebastián Yatra performs the original song “Dos Oruguitas” in Spanish in the film, as well as the English language version of the song, in the end-credits.  The physical soundtrack will be available on Dec. 17 and is available for pre-order. Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Encanto” opens in theaters November 24, 2021.
On diving into the music of the Colombian-set story, Miranda said, “It really began with family.  The notion of a family musical that gets to the complexity and interconnectedness of families was really interesting. In the beginning, we told a lot of personal stories—one of the ongoing themes was how we all cast our family members in certain roles. How do those roles change over time? How do they stay the same?”
Miranda wrote and produced eight original songs for “Encanto.” Mike Elizondo (“96,000” from “In The Heights,” “My Shot (Rise Up Remix)” from The Hamilton Mixtape) co-produced the songs. “I hope audiences come away singing these songs just like so many classic Disney movies,” said Elizondo. “There are so many positive messages about family and our relationships to one another. I also hope they realize how much variety there is in Colombian music. I learned so much about their rhythms and styles during the production process and I hope the audience can use the soundtrack as a gateway to discover Colombian music.”

The Encanto Original Motion Picture Soundtrack features eight original songs and a full original score, plus one reprise and one end-credit version of a song from the film. The digital version of the soundtrack also includes instrumental versions of the songs.

Award-winning composer Germaine Franco is behind the original score for “Encanto.” Franco worked closely with filmmakers and Miranda to create a signature score that complemented the songs and story.

Commenting on the score, Franco said, “Collaborating with Jared Bush, Byron Howard, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Charise Castro Smith, and Yvett Merino was a dream!  We created new textures and sonorities, using traditional Colombian instruments such as tiples, bandolas, cununos, marimba de chonta, arpa llanera from Latin America mixed with orchestra. The sound of the score is infused with many Colombian rhythmic styles including bambuco, mapalé, cumbia, and joropo. The score weaves in and out of the beautiful songs of Lin-Manuel Miranda. I hope that the musical imagery of the score evokes the resonant landscape of Colombia, the tenacity of our lead character, Mirabel, the strength of family, and our shared humanity.”

“Encanto” is directed by Jared Bush (co-director “Zootopia”) and Byron Howard (“Zootopia,” “Tangled”), co-directed by Charise Castro Smith (writer “The Death of Eva Sofia Valdez”) and produced by Yvett Merino, p.g.a., and Clark Spencer, p.g.a.  Castro Smith and Bush are screenwriters on the film.

In the film, the magic of the Encanto has blessed every child in the family with a unique gift from super strength to the power to heal—every child except one, Mirabel. But when she discovers that the magic surrounding the Encanto is in danger, Mirabel decides that she, the only ordinary Madrigal, might just be her exceptional family’s last hope. The voice cast includes Stephanie Beatriz, María Cecilia Botero, Wilmer Valderrama, Adassa, Diane Guerrero, Mauro Castillo, Angie Cepeda, Jessica Darrow, Rhenzy Feliz and Carolina Gaitán.

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