Friday June 12, 2020
Despite the music cultural diversity and how tastes differ from one culture to the other, it’s not uncommon for filmmakers to adopt foreign music in their movies. Hit songs in Arabic by Fayrouz, Amr Diab and others have played in movies around the globe. In 2019, the song Mirage by Hayat Selim also played in the British short film with the same title.
But unlike the other songs by famous singers, Mirage, the theme song for the short film ‘Mirage’ by Lena Srinivasan; music, words and voice by film composer and singer-songwriter Hayat Selim, was created especially for the film. Not only that, but the song was also nominated in the ‘Best Song’ category of the Jerry Goldsmith Awards 2019. These Awards aim to recognize the work of musicians in the audiovisual sector, especially ones at the early years of their career.
Hayat wrote the music for Lena’s film back in 2019 after he asked her for a song in Arabic for the opening scene of his short film. Hayat wrote this song in her finals year of masters in film music at the Royal College of Music. While she had the chance to present a composition live to motion picture at the Britten Theatre of her college, she decided to present a piece presenting her roots from the Middle East and extended the film intro to a full song that speaks about the events in the film.
The composition fuses classical cinematic orchestration for live ensemble with Middle Eastern influences such as the use of Oud, Greek influences such as use of the Duduk, as part of the story is also based on Greek mythology despite taking place in a more Middle Eastern setting. Electronic synth pads are used as well to give an otherworldly atmosphere as the song plays mainly in the dream scene of the film, dictating rest of the events.
For the lyrics Hayat decided to go for Fusha Arabic, which she masters, instead of the Egyptian dialect. “When it comes to singing, I was trained in classical and pop singing mainly so it was quite a challenge to sound ‘Arabic’ when I first sang this song last year. It takes different technique and position of the voice which I still have a long way to learn. For the official song release this year, I re-recorded the vocals a year later after having worked on that side of my voice a little more to hopefully sound a bit more convincing in that genre than I did a year ago,” she explained.
You can listen to MIRAGE here. It is also by Hayat Selim is now available on Spotify, Anghami and other platforms.
Film Composer and singer-songwriter Hayat Selim received her master’s in Composition for Screen from the Royal College of Music, a course ranked as number one in Europe and number two in the world in film music composition. Selim acquired a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa to stay in the UK and continue pursuing her career as composer and singer-songwriter.
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