Moana’s melody maker
> Lin-Manuel Miranda is the man behind the music for the new landmark Disney animated film
AWARD-WINNING Hamilton musical creator Lin-Manuel Miranda has swaped the politics of 18th century Washington for the charms of Polynesia in the Disney animated movie Moana.
The film features Auli’i Cravalho as Moana, and Dwayne Johnson as the demigod Maui.
Miranda, 36, worked with musicians from the South Pacific to create original songs for the movie, which revolves around a plucky teenage girl who sets sail on an epic journey to help save her tribe.
He spoke with Reuters about Moana, and his work on the upcoming Mary Poppins movie sequel, where he will play a character named Jack.
What was it like working with Samoanborn musician Opetaia Foa’i and his band, Te Vaka? “We all went into this keenly aware that this is a part of the world that isn’t represented on screen very much, so you want the people who live there to see the movie and say: ‘Hey, that’s us’, and with pride.
“Opetaia took the lead on the rhythms and harmonies ... he leads the dance and I write lyrics and the melodies.”
Which was your favourite song? “The one that represents our collaboration the best is We Know the Way. We started writing that the weekend we met.
“We met in New Zealand (and) we went to this Pacifica music festival where we heard choirs from all over the different islands.”
How has life been post– “I love the subway in New York. I think it’s a national treasure. I did a lot of writing on the train.
“For a while, I couldn’t take the train without someone sitting next to me and talking to me.
“(Now) I’m working on a movie in London. I can walk around with my son (and) it’s not a big deal, so it’s nice to have that back.”
Speaking of London, what can you tell us about your character Jack? Will we be hearing a Cockney accent? “You’re going to hear the worst accent you’ve ever heard in your life! You’re not going to know what country I’m from. “It’s going to sound like I came from another planet!”
You’ve worked on music for and you’re involved in Disney’s princess world with and Any Marvel comic characters? “I’m a Marvel buff. I grew up reading those comic books. If they ever do a Maximum Carnage storyline, I want dibs on Carnage.” – Reuters
Miranda (below) composed the songs for Moana (left); and (right) performing a number with Johnson who voiced the demigod Maui at the film’s premiere.