New romantic comedy Fanie Fourie’s Lobola, a contemporary romantic comedy about love and tradition in a rapidly evolving society, is a real treat for South African music fans with a soundtrack that features a number of popular and lesser-known local artists.
“The 23 tracks on the soundtrack represent many different genres of South African music,” says producer and co-writer Janine Eser, who also selected music for the film. “The selection process was exciting because the broad choice of tracks came to represent the collection of diverse characters in the story, which is about what happens when an Afrikaans guy and a Zulu girl fall in love. Choosing the right music was a vital part of the filmmaking process and the music almost became an additional character in the movie.”
Adam Schiff, the composer of the score for the film, and Eser spent many months listening and trying to find a combination of music tracks that would work in the scenes and with the characters. “We chose well-known artists like Hip Hop Pantsula, Jack Parow, Freshlyground, Radio Kalahari Orkes, Lira, Mi Casa, Teargas, Bongo Maffin and fokofpolisiekar,” says Eser. “But we also felt that a few underground tracks would be interesting, so we included artists like Mix n Blend, Richard the 3rd and P.H.Fat. There was an amazing range of spectacular South African music to choose from.”
A highlight of the film is Chris Chameleon in the role of Fanie’s successful brother Sarel, a cheesy Afrikaans pop star. “He‘s not only a fantastic artist, but also a skilled comedic actor. As a well-known singer himself, he understands the dynamics of Sarel’s character. His contribution to the film, and all the songs he wrote with Hunter Kennedy (Die Heuwels Fantasties/fokofpolisiekar ) and Fred Den Hartog (Die Heuwels Fantasties) is truly brilliant. He not only took his role to heart, but his three “Sarel Fourie songs” added another dimension to the soundtrack.”
Composer Adam Schiff says both the score and music tracks should enhance the emotion or mood that is already present in a scene. “In ‘Fanie Fourie’s Lobola’, in a comedic scene like the one where the timid but friendly Fanie meets Dinky in a bakery, the score plays with the existing comedic dynamics and heightens them subtly for maximum effect.” In scenes that are more ethereal, such as when Dinky is walking down a dirt road to meet with Fanie for their first date, the visual image is filled with an otherworldly quality, which is almost suspended in time. “Fanie is transfixed by her beauty,” says Schiff. “She’s walking down a dirt road, but it looks like she’s walking the red carpet. The score had to make us feel that we were in that magical moment with them.”
Schiff’s score is a mix of comedy and drama. It incorporates musical ideas from both lead characters’ backgrounds and weaves them together into a body of music that captures the main themes of the film in a modern way.
“Instead of a large orchestra or musical group, I used various South African instrumentation in an intimate and neatly intermingled manner,” says Schiff. “Traditional Afrikaans instruments like the banjo and concertina represent Fanie’s universe, while Dinky’s brings in drums, marimba and kalimba. The instruments don’t always sound natural as I treated them to give the score a more modern resonance.”
On the process of scoring a film, Schiff says it should be organic and echo the characters and tone of the film. “Instrumentation and melody need to combine to form the aural heartbeat of the film,” he says. “Once the instrumentation is decided on, usually by experimenting with different combinations of instruments while watching the visuals, I start writing the themes or even mood pieces that become themes later on as the score progresses.”
With ‘Fanie Fourie’s Lobola’ Schiff believed it was important to feel that each melodic choice was rooted in specific African instrumentation. But he also wanted to allow the score to have a modern, non-traditional feel. The result is a score that feels as contemporary as the film.
Official Website: www.Faniefouriemovie.com
On SAMDB: www.samdb.co.za/film/1587