September 22, 2021

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Hillary Duran, the ‘Cuban’ composer, talks about making words for indie films

3 min read

Music director Sergio Navarretta’s “Cuban” focuses on a limited theatrical release on July 31. The movie stars Mina, a pre-med student starring Anne-Golza (“Degrasi”), in charge of caring for Lewis, portrayed by Alzheimer’s and its struggling Louis Gosset Jr. Left himself behind. While he was feeding her, she told him about her dream of becoming a musician and kept the tunes with Human since her childhood in Afghanistan. Lewis sparkles in the songs and begins to come out of his shell.

Navaretta cites “The Mambo Kings” as the inspiration for his film, saying that he was so inspired by the music in the 1992 movie that he wanted to make a film about a couple of brothers who fled Havana to New York in the ’50s. Pictures with music as its focal point. Her choice for the term was Grammy Award-nominated Cuban jazz artist Hillary Duran.

Duron, 67, immigrated to Canada in 1998, grew up in Havana and began his musical career at a very young age as part of a musical family. In the ’70s, Chucho Valdes tapped him as the successor to the orchestra Cubana de Masica Modarna. Later, he was a pianist and keyboard player for the band Arturo Sandoval, as well as arranger and musical director. Duron says he was instantly connected to writer-producer Alessandra Picoini’s script and was drawn to his acquaintance with the 50s Cuban jazz scene to help tell Lewis’ story. “I could have made a specific groove for Lewis,” he says. “I can bring the emotion I found in music.”

Duran worked alongside Navarretta to give the film a heartbeat and worked with both the composer and the lyricist. As time goes on, Louis reminds Mina that he was once a famous Cuban musician and band leader. In addition to providing scores, Duran arranges five new songs and multiple iconic values ​​that form the virtual history of Lewis’ life. (Soundtrack available from Alma Records))

The composer says his biggest challenge was to find Miner’s approach to looking after the story’s eventful music sequences, such as Lewis’s countermeasures from the nursing home authorities. “The scenes were the hardest with the excitement,” he said, adding that the novelist’s subtle notes about mood were essential.

Duran worked with Toronto-based musicians, including Trump player Alexis Barre and singer Alberto Alberto, as well as Golza, who was also the film’s producer. “We have a record [the songs] “En An Beso” and “El Milagro” together, “says Duron.” The process felt less like I’m recording a soundtrack and much more I’m recording an album.

Music supervisors Michael Perlmutter and Dondria Irwin helped Duron create the entire soundtrack before making it, which meant the music film was in the process of being made. During the shoot – Ontario and Havana – and in post-production it spread the whole crew.

“Everyone can feel the power of Hillary’s music,” says Navarretta. Since he was present at the Jazz Club scene towards the end of the film, the audience has to understand the whole measure of Duran’s work.

Editor Jane McCrae, who collaborated with Navarretta on the 2015 comedy “The Great Failure of Modern Relationships,” helped find a balance between score and song to spread Lewis’s history as the film progressed.

“At first, the music is subtle,” says Navarreta. “We start with the traditional traditional Afghan signal and it brings us to the world of minarets. But the music starts to get bigger through the instruments and the volume. When we get to the top, I want people to jump out of their seats. “

It echoes a feeling Duran: “Music has the ability to reminisce and awaken long-forgotten emotions,” the composer says. “I want people to feel the music of the film in their bones.”

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