Much has been said — and rightly so — about the fantastic story of the Madrigal family told in Disney’s animated film, “Encanto.” From its connection to Colombian magical realism to its multiple Oscar nominations, “Encanto” is definitely one of the favorite films of recent years.
In addition to having a team of Latine actors, singers, and producers, “Encanto” featured the talents of composer Germaine Franco, the genius behind the magical sonority that envelops us as we watch the film.
The soundtrack of “Encanto” has more than 494 million plays worldwide, where songs such as “Dos Oruguitas” by Sebastian Yatra and “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” have conquered hearts of all nationalities.
However, the film’s signature soundtrack is the work and genius of Germaine Franco, an American composer daughter of Mexican parents. Her work includes co-composing the score for Paramount’s live-action epic adventure film “Dora and the Lost City of Gold,” directed by James Bobin. Her score for “Little,” directed by Tina Gordon Chism for Universal Studios, includes a mix of orchestral, hip hop, R&B, and gospel music.
Her work on Pixar’s Oscar-winning film “Coco” (2017) spanned more than four years. Franco co-wrote and produced five of the six original songs with screenwriter and co-director Adrian Molina, including “Un Poco Loco,” “The World Es Mi Familia,” and “Proud Corazón.” She produced, orchestrated, and arranged the 2018 Oscar-winning song. She contributed additional music and co-orchestrated the score, giving the film its authentic Mexican sound.
Now, Franco has become the first woman to score a Disney animated feature film with “Encanto” and the first Latina to receive an Oscar nomination for Best Original Score.
Thank you to @TheAcademy for this incredible honor! I am so elated to be nominated with my fellow #ENCANTO creative team members @thejaredbush, @ByronPHoward, @Lin_Manuel, @yvettmf, and Clark Spencer! pic.twitter.com/n8r7jmN7mG
— Germaine Franco (@germaine_franco) February 8, 2022
“For each score that I create, I like to dive deep into the culture of the protagonists and the regions specific to the location of the storytelling,” Franco told Spotify. “I spent many hours listening to and studying the structures, instrumentation, performance styles, harmonies, melodies, and rhythms of traditional Colombian music. I felt that the Colombian instruments would provide me with inspiration, which they did-especially the arpa llanera (Colombian harp) and the marimba de chonta (Afro-Colombian marimba), and I knew that the score would be much richer if we were able to hear the authentic voices of Colombian musicians and singers.”
Franco said that part of her creative process for “Encanto” included immersing herself in the magical realism of Gabriel García Márquez’s literature, historical and cultural research.
“I’m very grateful to have this opportunity to open the door for other women and people of color. It’s important to me that we see more equity both in front of and behind the camera, and it’s notable that I am only one of many Latine creatives on the film,” Franco said. “We had Lin-Manuel Miranda, an entirely Latine cast, producer Yvett Merino, co-director and screenwriter Charise Castro-Smith, song producer Mike Elizondo, Sebastián Yatra, and Carlos Vives. This film is an example of the power of authentic voices in film and music collaborating to inspire our world. It is a sign that the industry is changing, albeit slowly. I celebrate the fact that millions of families from all countries, women, and people of color are seeing themselves on screen and enjoying the soundtrack!”