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Artistes: Various
Composer: Randy Newman
Walt Disney Records
Release Date: November 23, 2009



Never Knew I Needed - Ne-Yo
Down In New Orleans (Prologue) - Anika Noni Rose
Down In New Orleans - Dr. Jones
Almost There - Anika Noni Rose
Friends On The Other Side - Keith David
When We're Human (Feat. Terence Blanchard) - Anika Noni Rose
Gonna Take You There (Feat. Terrance Simien On Accordion) - Jim Cummings
Ma Belle Evangeline (Feat. Terence Blanchard On Trumpet) - Jim Cummings
Dig A Little Deeper (Feat. The Pinnacle Gospel Choir) - Jenifer Lewis featuring the Pinnacle Gospel Choir
Down In New Orleans (Finale) - Anika Noni Rose
Fairy Tale/Coming Home -Randy Newman
I Know This Story - Randy Newman
The Frog Hunters/Gator - Randy Newman
Tiana's Bad Dream - Randy Newman
Ray Laid Low - Randy Newman
Ray/Mama Odie - Randy Newman
This Is Gonna Be Good - Randy Newman


We have waited five years for Disney to release another 2D musical (the last they film they gave us was 2004’s farm animal extravaganza “Home On The Range”), and boy, do the folks at The House of Mouse know how to please and pamper this die hard fans of traditional animation musicals.

If you don’t already know, this Jon Musker and Ron Clements directed movie features the studio’s first black princess, and it also marks the perfect chance to rope in a powerhouse singer to voice this role. Here we have Anika Noni Rose who fits the character of Princess Tiana (actually, she appears as a frog for a large part of the movie) perfectly. After all, the actress is a Dreamgirl beside Beyonce in the 2006 movie. “Down in New Orleans (Prologue)” gives us a glimpse of her richly fabulous voice, “Almost There” showcases a voice which exemplifies the character’s hope and dreams, while “Down in New Orleans (Finale)” wraps up the song section nicely with her soaring vocals.

In between these songs, Noni Rose is joined by a capable cast of actors (Keith David as the villainous Dr Facilier, Michael Leon-Wooley as the singing crocodile Louis who is inspired by Louis Armstrong and Jennifer Lewis as the charming witch doctor Mama Odie)  who croon tunes like the sinister “Friends on the Other Side” (the spooky images of black magic and voodoo comes to mind), the jazzy “When We’re Human” (renowned trumpeter Terence Blanchard comes on board with his gorgeous instrumentation) and the instant favourite “Dig a Little Deeper” (a big ensemble number with really big voices from the Pinnacle Gospel Choir).

Grammy award winning composer Randy Newman’s playful score fills the second part of this 55 minute album. Instead of the usual Alan Menken fare (we last heard his enchanting work in 2007’s live action and animated musical “Enchanted”), we get a stylistic display of jazz and blues which aptly depict the New Orleans context of the movie. Be prepared to be enthralled by cues like “Fairy Tale/ Going Home”, “The Frog Hunters/ Gator Down” and “This is Gonna be Good”, where the talented musician conjures moments of delight and joy with a fun and enjoyable orchestration.

Disney is back in shape, people. May the magic continue to enchant viewers and listeners years down the road. 


Recommended Track: (9)
Dig a Little Deeper

Review by John Li

Posted on 1 January 2010


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This review is made possible with the kind support from Universal Music


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