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Soundtrack Review

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Dora and the Lost City of Gold
Music from the Motion Picture


Composers: John Debney and Germaine Franco
Label: Paramount Music
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 09 August 2019

Paramount Music release the music from the motion picture Dora and the Lost City of Gold, co-scored by John Debney and Germaine Franco. Having spent most of her life exploring the jungle with her parents, nothing could prepare Dora for her most dangerous adventure ever – High School. Always the explorer, Dora quickly finds herself leading Boots (her best friend, a monkey), Diego, a mysterious jungle inhabitant, and a rag tag group of teens on a live-action adventure to save her parents and solve the impossible mystery behind a lost city of gold...

John Debney and Germaine Franco shaped their score for Dora and the Lost City of Gold with a variety of instruments, including a full orchestra, choir, Latin percussion, pop brass, conch shells, quenas, sikus, tarkas, toyos, cajón, charangos, and indigenous drums. Franco wrote poems in Spanish, which were translated to Quencha by scholar Américo Mendoza-Mori. The choir and Andean soloists, Phaxsi Coca and Dante Concha, are heard singing in Quenchua and playing Andean flutes in key moments of the film. The composers carefully wove the Latin music elements into the score, which represents Dora’s tenacity and courage, by collaborating with several Latin players living in London from Peru, Bolivia, Cuba, and Columbia.

A movie that touches on familiar territory is bound to reference other composers work. So, it will come as no surprise to discover that the score for Dora and the Lost City of Gold has the occasional reference to John Williams's score for the Indiana Jones movies. This is most notable in tracks like 'Interloper Kidnapped' and 'Inca Aqueducts'.

There's also an element of Alan Silvestri's work on the Back to the Future trilogy that creeps in now and again, which is probably not overly surprising given that Debney was responsible for compiling and conducting an entire disc of music from that franchise on the Back in Time...: 1985 at the Movies album. And on tracks like 'Alejandro's Gold' I was reminded of James Horner's work on Jumanji.

But that's not to say that this is a score that spends its time constantly referencing other music. There's a lot of originality here and it's a credit to both composers that while you get a feeling you're embarking on a Tomb Raider / Indiana Jones-esque adventure you never really get the feeling they are over doing the homages.

This is an engaging, epic score that you'll get many years of pleasure from.


Darren Rea

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