Video interview with Mychael Danna (composer of “Where the Crawdads Sing”)
‘Seashells play a central role in the murder mystery as a clue,’ reveals Oscar and Emmy-winning composer Mychael Danna (“Life of Pi”) about turning to the distinctly ancient sounds sparked by the natural world. For our recent online chat, he adds: “As many of us know, this is one of the first instruments human beings ever used to blow into shells,” he says. “It sounds primordial and ancient, which it is, as an instrument. It really sounds like swamp. People have asked me, what is it? Is it a voice? Is- Is it a woodwind? Is it a brass instrument? It’s a blown shell. It’s kind of cool that you don’t know what it is, but it sounds like the swamp you see. as part of Gold Derby’s special “Meet the Experts” Q&A event with the 2022/2023 awards contenders. Watch our exclusive video interview above.
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“Where the Crawdads Sing” was directed by Olivia Newman of a screenplay Lucy Alibarbased on the 2018 bestselling novel of the same name by Delia Owens. The mystery thriller drama was produced by Reese Witherspoon and Lauren Neustadterand he stars Daisy EdgarJones (“Normal People”) as Kya, who after being abandoned by her mother and abusive father as a child, rises in the remote swamps of North Carolina. When a young man from the nearby town is found dead under mysterious circumstances, she becomes the prime suspect and is tried for murder.
The film straddles several genres, including elements of a romantic drama, crime thriller, and survival tale. Danna knew he had his work cut out for him when crafting the film’s music that would underpin much of its emotional narrative, employing many musical styles and instrumentation in his arsenal, but always returning to found organic sounds. in nature. “The natural world was to be where the music grew from, like vines spread throughout history,” Danna explains. “There are a lot of threads and the story arc unfolds over a lifetime, from Kya as a young girl to her – spoiler alert – old age and death at the end. There were four main threads. There is the mystery of the murder, there is the local social life, that is to say the people of the small town around the swamp where she lives. American instruments were used there and for the murder mystery I used acoustic instruments which were handled in a weird and mysterious way. Then we have this whole arc of Kya’s life and for that, the symphony orchestra was the thing that followed that,” he says. “The music really begins and ends in the natural world, the swamp world, a place of life and death,” he explains.
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