October '17

Hola mpinji! This is AFROSYNTH, the realest African selection...

GEORGE FENTON & JONAS GWANGWA - Cry Freedom (1987)

MCA/Tusk, LMCA 6224   
Producers: George Fenton & Keith Grant   
Engineer: Keith Grant       
Recorded at: Abbey Road, CBS & Twickenham Studios, London


Soundtrack to the 1987 film about Black Consciousness leader Steve Biko, played by Denzel Washington. Written by prolific British composer George Fenton and Mzansi jazz icon Jonas Gwangwa, who led the ANC's cultural arm Amandla in exile. Also featuring UK-based heavyweights like Lucky Ranku, Dudu Pukwana and Bheki Mseleku, as well as British synth-man Ken Freeman.

Nominated for a Grammy in 1988 as well as for Oscars for Best Score and Best Song for the title track, which Gwangwa performed live at that year's ceremony. The music is a powerful blend of Eno-esque orchestration, mostly mellow and moody, with some old-time South African jazz (on tracks like 'Shebeen Queen'). Highlights include a version of the then-banned anthem 'Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika' sung by Thuli Dumakude.

Director Richard Attenborough writes: "Jonas has brought to the soundtrack a veracity and vividly African flavour which conveys a unique feeling of place and mood. This George has transmuted into a music track which is wonderfully accessible to a non-African ear. Their collaboration has been remarkably successul, resulting in what I consider to be the finest film score George Fenton has ever written."