We were expecting the biopic of the late Nelson Mandela to get lots of attention at the major film awards, but to our surprise, the hype seems to be rather underwhelming (granted this is indeed a strong year for movies gunning for accolades). This soundtrack album to Justin Chadwick’s film is one of the two produced (the other one is a CD containing score material composed by Alex Heffes), and contains 50 minutes worth of music embodying the uplifting spirit captured in the movie.
There are two genres of songs in this album – Western tunes like The Havana Swingsters’ “Mzala” and The Manhattan Brothers’ “Be My Guest”, and South African compositions like Tony Kgoroge’s “Hoya Rona” and Dizu Plaatjie’s “Kaphume Aphendlini”.
Because we live in this part of the world, the Western tunes may be an easier listen for us. Cues like The Manhattan Brothers’ “Jikela Emaweni” and Todd Matshikiza’s “Quickly In Love” are perfect to chill the weekend afternoon away. Elsewhere, you get more ethnic tunes like Art Blakely’s “Amuck” and Innocent Modiba’s “Thetha no Botha/ Siyaya ePitoli”.
For a film that chronicles Nelson Mandela’s life journey from childhood in a rural village to his inauguration to the first democratically president of South Africa, you’d expect politically charged tracks like Bob Marley’s “War” and Gil Scott Heron’s “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”.
The highlight of the album is definitely U2’s “Ordinary Love”. The four minute song has already won a Golden Globe, and garnered the only nomination for the movie at the upcoming Academy Awards. With lyrics like ““birds fly high in the summer sky and rest on the breeze, the sea wind will take care of you and I, we’ll build our house in the trees”, would we be expecting the Irish quartet to grace the stage to accept the Oscar in Dolby Theatre on 2 March?
Recommended Track: (17) Ordinary Love – U2
Review by John Li