This experience was hosted by Disney & Pixar. However, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own!
Discover the Music of COCO
COCO released in theaters in the US last week and it has been several weeks since it premiered in Mexico. During that time the one thing that below cannot stop talking about is how fundamental the music is to the film. Although it is not a musical, the filmmakers have worked hard to insure that the music played in the movie is authentic and realistic throughout. In COCO, we also have an underlying story of Miguel’s amazing talent and passion for music even though his family has forbade any contact or inclusion with the music world. This makes the music crucial to all aspects of the storytelling.
During my visit to Pixar in August, I had the opportunity to sit down and hear from Michael Giacchino (Composer), Germaine Franco (Songwriter/Arranger), Camilo Lara (Consultant), Adrian Molina (Writer and Co-Director) & Federico Ramos (Guitarist) about the process that went into creating the music that is heard in the background and sang/played by characters during the film. I am excited to share these fun facts about the “Music of Coco” and let you hear directly from the filmmakers in a special featurette.
Miguel is from the small village of Santa Cecilia, which has a rich history in music thanks to the legendary Ernesto de la Cruz who got his start in the town. To create the real sounds and rhythm that are present in a plaza daily, they visited Mexico several times to make sure they had the full ambiance present in the sounds and music. Mexico has a rich music history that is more than mariachi and they included a variety of music genres in the film. Some of the genres they included were Banda, Trio, Jaracho, and Marimba.
One scene that takes place in the “Land of the Dead” showcases the feelings that music can evoke by adding mystery and camaraderie to a group of individuals who have almost been forgotten.
Another important piece of the music is the iconic guitar that is played by Ernesto de la Cruz. They wanted a guitar that would stand out and be recognizable as Ernesto’s. They teamed up with an expert luthier ( Someone who builds or repairs string instruments generally consisting of a neck and a sound box. ) to create a full size model they could replicate in animation.
To create the score for the film, Michael Giacchino watched rough art to get the feel and emotion that was being portrayed in the film. He used that to then translate those feelings into music which would evoke the same feelings when watched. The idea is to have the music guide the viewers throughout the film.
To create the score, they started with one instrument and then slowly added instruments until hey had a full orchestra to create a “big” effect from the music.
The film contains original songs such as Remember Me which was written by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez (most popular for their song from Frozen – Let it Go.) They wanted a song that would create a larger than life persona and give the singer star power.
This song is one that Ernesto de la Cruz is known for throughout the movie. Check out the music video for this iconic song below.
One of the other original songs in the film is Un Poco Loco . This song was written for Hector and Miguel to preform during a talent show in the “Land of the Dead.” The song plays on the mistrust that Miguel has for Hector and shows the tension that can occur in a relationship. It points out the fact that the people we are close to can make us crazy and helps audiences relate to the duo’s relationship.
To create the unique sounds in the song, they used boots for a percussion element. a jarocho player’s talented foot work was used to capture the sounds. Discover some of the uniqueness in Un Poco Loco in the song snippet below.
Music has always played an important part in films causing us to feel excited, scared, or sad while watching certain scenes but filmmakers have gone out of their way in COCO to provide music that does more than make you feel things. They have created music that captures you and transports you to the place in the film and makes you feel what the characters feel. I was mesmerized by the work that went into creating all the different elements of the film but the music wraps it all together and helps create a perfect film for audiences of all ages. Make sure you check out the featurette below to learn more about the “Music of Coco” and make plans to see it in theaters if you have not already.
If you want to hear more great songs from COCO make sure to get the COCO soundtrack today.
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COCO is in theaters everywhere now!