25 May 2007

BEAT THE DRUM - Entretien avec Ramin Djawadi par Christine Blanc

Après la mort de ses parents, victimes du sida, un gamin de neuf ans part seul à Johannesburg pour retrouver son oncle, disparu depuis longtemps, et récolter assez d'argent pour aider sa grand-mère. Arrivé à destination, il devra affronter les dangers de la grande ville.

C'est de la collaboration de deux compositeurs de talent qu'est née cette splendide partition, à la fois sincère et humaine. A l'occasion de sa récente et bienvenue sortie en cd (13 Février 2007), alors que le film TV date de 2003, nous avons eu le plaisir de nous entretenir avec Ramin Djawadi. Prochainement, sera aussi publiée une interview de Klaus Badelt qui vous parlera aussi de cette expérience, riche en couleurs.

How did you come on the Beat The Drum TV project?
Beat The Drum was actually my first own movie that I scored and I got it through Klaus Badelt. I was very excited when he told me about the project and thought it would be a good choice for me to do. It was actually meant to be theatrical feature. I think it became a TV movie recently.

May you describe your score for this series?
I enjoyed writing this score very much. It needed very idyllic themes. No overlong action cues, but lush orchestra cues with african and some modern elements.
What do you think about the subjects of the film?
I think this movie functions as a very good educational film and it’s wonderfully told through the eyes of a boy.


How much time did you have to compose your score?
I had about 6 weeks and we recorded choir in South Africa and the orchestra in Bulgaria.

Can you tell me about the great finale of the movie?
The cue is about 8 min long and it needed to keep building and building. We used an original African choir piece and one my themes fit perfectly on top of it. The goal was to create a powerful positive piece of music that made you cry with a smile. That happy sad feeling. The end of the movie is just so moving.

How did you work, and with what request from the crew?
The director was actually from South Africa and we never met. The producers met with me on a regular basis. The direction was pretty open. The main request was to have nice memorable themes.

What kind of an orchestra and what size did you choose?
We used the Bulgarian orchestra of about 55 players. There is some synths in there and most of the percussion is programmed. I played all the guitars. I still enjoy to record some guitars myself if I get a chance.

Did you choose special instruments for the score?
I researched african instruments and used a lot of percussion. I also used the penny whistle a lot. I also used nylon string guitar a lot. Even though I didn’t neccessarily play in an authentic african style, I at least like to have the flavor in there. I wanted the score to sound fairly modern too.

Can you describe the main theme you created for the film, how you conceived it, and how you used it throughout the film?
This score is definitely thematic. The main theme is Musa’s theme, our main character. It follows us all the way through the movie during his journey. You can hear in a more traditional arrangement during his journey to Jo’burg and then more modern once he is in the city.

I felt a very humanistic and deep approach in your music for the series. Do you agree? Can you explain that?
I felt the movie needed themes that were deep but yet simple. The movie is a journey of a young naive boy and the music is supposed to grow with him along his experiences and emotions.

Can you tell me about your other themes for the films?
There is Thandi’s theme, Musa’s sister. It was also used as the “home” theme. This climaxes at the end of movie as it plays on top of the choir. Then there is also the Curse theme, which was the underlaying subject of the movie.
Among all your scores for the series what are the ones you like the most?
Probably the big finale. Everything plays together and the african choir sounds absolutely beautiful.

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