Review: Disney/Pixar's BRAVE "Sounds of the Highlands" Original Score & Songs

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For centuries music has been a way to tell a story, feel emotions or inspire the next generations. When it comes to telling a story visually Disney/Pixar has been at the forefront since 1996 with ‘Toy Story’and continues today with its newest member to the family, ‘Brave’. Ushering in Pixar’s first ever heroin, Merida, we journey to a place where magic has been part of everyday life from the highlands to the lowlands, Scotland.

With an Oscar nominated composer Patrick Doyle at the podium you will not be disappointed while you close your eyes and see every detail of this beautiful land and its many memorable people. Being Scottish-born may have given Doyle a little bit of an upper hand in creating the feel and sound for ‘Brave’.

With such beautiful instrumentation as Celtic harp to the bodhran you will be swept away with the notion to possibly jump up and do a jig or two. But what makes the album so rich and wonderful are the voices.

Billy Connolly, who lends his voice and persona to Fergus, Merida’s father has a roaring good time with “Song of Mor’du”. While Emma Thompson as elegant as ever being the matriarch, Elinor, along with a young Merida voiced by Peigi Barker sing of what it is to be “A Mhaighdean Bhan Uasal” or “Nobel Maiden Fair”. They just go to show you even audibly you can sense the feel and sight of a simpler time.

But to set the tone in one, or two songs you have to leave it to Doyle to bring in the right voice to capture or better yet free the tone of the film you lend your ear to Julie Fowlis. With her sweet Gaelic sound you need nothing more than just sit back and relax to hear the story from the songs “touch the Sky” and “Into the Open Air” written by Pixar’s own Alex Mandel with lyrics by director Mark Andrews and Mandel. Again proving it is about the music and words that can transfix one into a story.

Let us not leave out the last of the spoken tracks being “Learn Me Right” performed by Birdy and accompanied by Mumford & Sons. Again we are just astounded by talented people putting together a track that brings the story to culmination and leaves you wanting more.

I cannot say enough about the feel and passion this soundtrack brings out while listening to it. After the third time in one day, I had to step back and make sure it wasn’t just me who loves Disney/Pixar films, that I wasn’t being bias. I even had several friends who are musically inclined as me to have a listen of a few songs. We all had the same reaction, wow. It is breathtaking, powerful, and moving. The instrumentation is perfect and balanced. You want to board a plane and find a peak in the highlands and just listen forever. After I see the film, I’m sure I will be able to listen to the music over and over and have the images Pixar is so wonderful at doing be running through my mind. Bravo.

Follow my entertainment adventures throughout Southern California on Twitter @SCThrillsMarc.

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