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The Collaborative Process Behind Black Panther‘s Score

This featurette from Genius walks through the collaborative composition process for the Black Panther score. In addition to Kendrick Lamar’s album, composer Ludwig Göransson and Senegalese musician Baaba Maal worked together to give the film its unique sound.

Göransson has collaborated with director Ryan Coogler for years, starting at film school at USC and including Coogler’s films Fruitvale Station and Creed. However, when he read the script for Black Panther, he realized that he would have to go to Africa and research before he could capture the feel of the film in the soundtrack.

However, it was difficult to know where to begin. “It’s a big continent, and there’s so much different music in every country,” says Göransson, “in every different tribe. They all have their different instruments; they all have a different language.” Luckily, one of Göransson’s friends had produced an album with Baaba Maal, a Senegalese artist from the Fulani tribe, and so he called him up to ask if he would help with the album. Maal invited Göransson to follow him on his tour.

“When I was traveling around with Baaba Maal,” Göransson says, “he opened up his solo shows with this just, kind of like, ceremonial outcall. Every time I saw it, I got goosebumps, and I was like, ‘What if we start the movie like that? What if we start the score like that?'”

Göransson then walks through the creation of T’Challa’s theme, from Baaba Maal’s lyrics, to the use of talking drums from West Africa, to the orchestra and underlying beat. “Any time he comes into the movie, you either hear the talking drum rhythm, the ensemble rhythm, or you hear the solo saying his name.”

A lot of the praise for Black Panther has cited its stellar and distinctive world-building. So it’s always really cool to see the work that went into creating the film’s feel and its world.

(via io9; image: screengrab)

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