Wakanda Forever’ Takes Center Stage In A New Disney+ Docuseries

One of the most impressive facets of the Black Panther franchise–but one of the least-well-appreciated–is the music. Both films have featured an original score and a companion soundtrack album, which somehow sound completely different from one another, but work together brilliantly. Now, a new docuseries on Disney+ titled Voices Rising: The Music of Wakanda Forever aims to let fans of the series and the music crafted specifically for it in on how it all came together.

The three-part series, which sees a new episode dropping every Tuesday for just under a month, pulls the curtain back on the incredible effort that went into making not one, but two albums of material for the Black Panther sequel. Impressively, both the score and the soundtrack of “inspired by” songs–which features a bevy of Latin and African musicians writing and recording original tunes–were helmed by Ludwig Göransson.

The Swedish composer, producer, and songwriter has done it all, winning an Oscar for scoring the first Black Panther, several Grammys–including for Childish Gambino’s “This Is America,” the only hip-hop track to win either Song or Record of the Year at the Grammys (it won both)–and recently two Emmys for his musical work on Disney+’s The Mandolorian. He’s an unusual choice for a project so deeply rooted in African culture, but his longstanding working friendship with Black Panther head creative Ryan Coogler and his immeasurable talent prove he is the right man for the job. Now, he’s also a TV producer, as Voices Rising: The Music of Wakanda Forever was his idea.

MORE FROM FORBESGrammys Producer Raj Kapoor Gives A Peek Behind The Scenes Into Music’s Biggest Night

In a recent call about this show, Göransson admitted that when he began working on the music that would be included in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, there were no plans of a companion TV series…or even of capturing any video content. “I didn’t even think about this idea until the second day in Mexico when I was recording” the super-producer revealed.

Voices Rising: The Music of Wakanda Forever begins with his time in Lagos, the musical capital of Africa at the moment, but the journey that Göransson went on actually started in Mexico. The Black Panther sequel includes Mexican characters and culture, and the music needed to reflect that, so this time around, the composer found the time to visit both locales. His right-hand man in Mexico somehow found a cameraman immediately, and thus the show was in production after a simple thought.

During the interview, Göransson said that while he was working on the first Black Panther film, he and his wife spent time in Senegal, and they documented much of that experience themselves. This time, he realized that others would benefit from such documentation.

MORE FROM FORBESThe Story Of How The Grand Ole Opry Helped Save A Brand New TV Network During Covid

“Ludwig was very intentional,” shared Seni Saraki, a music mogul based in Africa who worked closely with Göransson while he was in Nigeria recording, adding, “He wanted this process to be recorded.”

Perhaps one of the most surprising revelations that comes out of Voices Rising: The Music of Wakanda Forever is just how much work went into creating all the music for the film. It’s easy to misunderstand or completely overlook how difficult scoring Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was, as that’s not the goal of the film. It is a happy reality of watching this docuseries, though. “People in that moment don’t think about how much time we took in creating it, or how complicated it was,” Göransson opined, adding that those sitting in a movie theater watching the Marvel epic are, instead, “having that experience that you never had before.”

The musical component of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever could have been started and completed entirely in a typical recording studio in Los Angeles, but Göransson understood that if he wanted to get to the heart of these cultures musically and represent them authentically, he had to be there.

The first episode of Voices Rising: The Music of Wakanda Forever shows that Disney spared no expense to do this right, and that Göransson and his team wanted a wide array of voices and talents involved. Musicians from across the African continent are flown to Lagos to work together, and the producer takes the time to learn new instruments and sample unusual sounds. In Mexico–the focus of the second episode–he works with musical archaeologists to understand the tools that might have been used hundreds of years ago.

MORE FROM FORBESRihanna, Lady Gaga, ‘RRR’ Lead Best Original Song Oscar Nominees

While nobody would suggest that making the music for Black Panther was easy, it’s likely few understood just how involved, how difficult, and how time-consuming the entire process truly was. Now, Voices Rising: The Music of Wakanda Forever shows the level of detail, respect, and care that both albums were created with.

Saraki, who helped gather together the brightest talents in the African music industry for this score and soundtrack–all with less than one week’s notice–believes that this docuseries is a natural extension of the brand, as everything connected to Black Panther has an educational element to it. The movies and music are entertaining, yes, but they also teach the viewer about Africa, its people, and its culture. Voices Rising: The Music of Wakanda Forever reinforces this ideal, but does so without special effects, focusing instead on what’s really happening.

Göransson also admitted that part of the reason the docuseries was made was to promote these musicians, to give some of them a platform. Some of the artists involved are already superstars, or well on their way, such as Tems (who just won a Grammy and is currently up for an Oscar for Best Original Song alongside Göransson for the Rihanna smash “Lift Me Up”), Burna Boy, and Fireboy DML, while most others are simply working musicians, but certainly no less talented.

Another goal of Voices Rising: The Music of Wakanda Forever, according to Göransson? To prove to anyone anywhere that this is within reach; to “hopefully make some kids inspired and be like, ‘Oh, I’m in the jungle in nowhere, and I can be on the next Black Panther soundtrack.’”

MORE FROM FORBESTidal Has Chosen The Next Great Musicians The World Needs To Hear-But How?

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/hughmcintyre/2023/03/06/the-music-of-black-panther-wakanda-forever-takes-center-stage-in-a-new-disney-docuseries/