Following hot on the heels of the successful opening of the epic film, Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom in South Africa on 28 November, the soundtrack of the film will be launched worldwide on 6 December.
As the film follows Nelson Mandela’s (and South Africa’s) journey through the decades, the film’s official soundtrack provides a musical documentary of the times. The classic Afro-Jazz sounds of the Havana Swingsters takes us from the 1940’s of Mandela’s youth, through Art Blakely and the Revolutionary 50’s and 60’s period, right up the international condemnation of the Apartheid regime with The Special AKA’s classic song “Nelson Mandela”. During the filming the cast recorded live versions of traditional protest songs, under the guidance of well-known South African musicians, Dizu Plaatjies and Blondie Makhene,, giving the scenes in the film a stark sense of reality. The Soundtrack also features a new song by U2 titled ‘Ordinary Love’ which was written especially for the film.
Accompanying Chadwick’s masterful direction, which perfectly captures both the majesty and intensity of Africa, is composer Alex Heffes’ emotive score which features both choir vocals and South African music legend Caiphus Semenya. Heffes’ use of both classical and African instruments gives the film its emotional resonance and complements the feeling of watching history unfold in front of your eyes.
Says producer Anant Singh, “Music has always been ingrained in South African society and played a central role during the struggle years. The soundtrack of the film captures this, as well as the popular music of the various eras depicted in the film and includes classic tracks from Miriam Makeba, the Manhattan Brothers and the Havana Swingsters. Alex Heffes did an amazing job composing and conducting the score and, his collaboration with Caiphus Semenya on the vocals and traditional instruments enhances the score by giving it a South African flavour.”
After working in South Africa, Heffes conducted and recorded the rest of the score at London’s Abbey Road with a 65-piece orchestra. “The film provided me with a vast emotional canvas,” says Heffes. “My aim was for the music to guide the audience through this emotional journey and come away with a joy for what this story can inspire in us,” he continues. “The score starts sparsely using African instruments and becomes more orchestral as the story darkens. As the years become more up to date, it adds electric guitars and synths to give the audience the subliminal feeling of the decades having passed,” says Heffes.
Heffes received his first BAFTA nomination for his score to the HBO drama Tsunami: The Aftermath and has gone on to score a wide variety of productions including Charles Ferguson’s Academy Award® winning Inside Job; the U.S. box office hit The Rite starring Anthony Hopkins; Catherine Hardwicke’s Red Riding Hood; Peter Webber’s World War II drama Emperor, starring Tommy Lee Jones; and Justin Chadwick’s The First Grader among many others. He collaborated with director Tim Burton on his screen adaptation of Sweeney Todd starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. His score to the short film BOY was featured at the opening ceremony of the Olympic velodrome at the 2012 London Olympics.