Audio: On The Score With A.R. Rahman

By December 8, 2010 No Comments

Few composers connote world music as film scoring like A.R. Rahman. A musical prodigy in his native India, Rahman would become an acclaimed, Oxford-educated performer whose intoxicating, joyful rhythms touched a transcendental consciousness of melodic grooves appreciated the world over. Writing the soundtracks for numerous Indian films in the midst of a busy pop career, Rahman’s film stylings would first impress Western ears with the imports “Warriors of Heaven and Earth” and “Lagaan” before making a true international breakthrough for the regally innovative score of “Elizabeth: The Golden Age.”

When Danny Boyle decided on a native composer to complement the Indian street cred of his film “Slumdog Millionaire,” A.R. Rahman was a natural choice. The resulting soundtrack was used hip, highly danceable takes on the country’s ancient rhythms that translated to Oscars for Best Score and Song, not to mention the international hit “Jai Ho.” While Rahman took a pleasant Hollywood rest stop in the “Couples Retreat,” his next film for Boyle has made the composer face one of his greatest scoring challenges in the deepest recesses of a Southwestern canyon, where a trapped adventurer has no room to move his arm, let alone dance. The result is an intense, rhythmically hypnotic score that plays his ensuing, fateful “127 Hours” as the ultimate trip inside a man’s soul, where Rahman’s music faces his past and a hopeless future before taking drastic, and spiritually enervating action. It’s an inner miasma of spare acoustics, surging rock guitars and transcendent orchestrations that beautifully surface to the light with Dido in the song “If I Rise.”

Now basking in the acclaim of this truly interior film, A.R. Rahman talks about the challenges of taking the unexpected, and powerful journey of “127 Hours” to show himself as a composer capable of taking any risk, on any continent.

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