7 January 2022, 17:26
Lin-Manuel Miranda teams up with composer Germaine Franco in his latest musical partnership with Disney.
Dance its release from 2021, Encanto is the latest film offering from Walt Disney Animation Studios.
Encanto tells the story of the Madrigal family living in Colombia during what appears to be the turn of the 20th century, and their magical “casita” house which was created to protect them from harm.
In addition to protecting them from harm, the casita offers each member of the family a magical gift, with the exception of our main character, Mirabel Madrigal.
However, when the magic begins to wear off and the casita and the family’s lives are in danger, Mirabel must step in if she is to save them all.
With a magical soundtrack running through this vibrant, family-centered story, let’s explore the composers and musicians behind the tracks.
Read more: A superfan made a montage of 76 Disney characters singing in their native language
Who composed the soundtrack of Encanto?
Music for Encanto was written by Germaine Franco, an award-winning Mexican-American songwriter, who has also written for films including the Oscar-winning Disney-Pixar film coconut, and 20th Century Fox The book of life.
Franco was the first Latina person to be invited to join the Academy of Cinema Arts and Sciences branch of music and receive the Annie Award for Outstanding Achievement for Music in an Animated Feature Film (coconut).
In 2019, Franco was the only woman and woman of color to score two of the 100 highest-grossing films (Dora and the lost city of gold and the small) across the industry.
Besides being a great composer, Franco is a professional percussionist and has performed with orchestras and ensembles around the world, including with the Belgian Radio Orchestra, and on her own soundtrack for Encanto, where she also played keyboards.
Traditional instruments and rhythms play a big role in the score.
Commenting on the score, Franco said: “[The team] created new textures and sounds, using traditional Colombian instruments such as tiples, bandolas, cununos, marimba de chonta, arpa llanera from Latin America mixed in an orchestra.
“The sound of the score is imbued with many Colombian rhythmic styles, including bambuco, mapalé, cumbia and joropo.”
Franco also involved Colombian musicians in the creation of the film.
“The women of Colombia are also musicians and singers, they are called cantadoras and they have this tradition, especially in Afro-Colombian regions, where women play percussion, sing and sing. I wanted that sound. So Franco organized a remote session in Colombia to integrate these voices into the soundtrack of the film.
Overall, Franco hopes that the musical imagery of his score “evokes the soundscape of Colombia, the tenacity of our main character, Mirabel, the strength of family and our shared humanity.”
Read more: Orchestra plays Aaron Copland’s marching band at a powerful protest in the streets of Colombia
What are Encanto’s songs?
Eight original songs are featured in the Disney film, all written by multi-award winning songwriter Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Regarding her work with Franco, Miranda said: “It was really important to me that we had a Latin music team for this film. Our first meeting went very well and she spoke so forcefully about the themes and instrumentation she wanted to use.
“The theme she found was so amazing. Especially in the finale, there are tradeoffs between the end of my song and the start of its score.
The film marked a first for Miranda, whose fan favorite song “Dos Oruguitas” was her first song written entirely in Spanish.
Miranda, who is of Puerto Rican descent, thought it was important to write the acoustic song first in Spanish, before translating it into English, in order to make it sound like an authentic Colombian folk song.
The second song in the film is Mirabel’s solo Waiting for a miracle which, unlike the other tracks in the film, is written in a 3/4 waltz-like time signature.
Miranda purposely did this to show that Mirabel is in a “different rhythmic universe from the rest of her family” and came up with the idea after the film’s 2018 research trip to Colombia noted that local musicians often played this era.
What is Encanto’s tracklist?
Here are the eight songs of Encanto.
- The family madrigal
- Waiting for a miracle
- We’re not talking about Bruno
- Surface pressure
- What else can i do
- Dos Orguitas
- You all
- Colombia, Mi Encanto
Encanto is now available on Disney Plus.