We are almost at the end of award season and March 2nd marks the date of the 86th Academy Awards aka The Oscars. Since the film’s debut at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival, 12 Years a Slave, a story about a free black man from Upstate New York who was abducted and sold into slavery, has stolen the hearts of film fans, myself included. Picking up several awards since the beginning of January, it is predicted to scoop up multiple gold statues tomorrow night. It doesn’t hurt that Hollywood and the fashion world’s latest darling Lupita N’yong’o has gained wide spread attention for her red carpet fashion. But it’s also the film’s soundtrack that has struck a chord for me personally. The album for Director Steve McQueen’s adaptation of Solomon Northup’s autobiography features 16 songs which also includes two tracks by legendary film composer Hans Zimmer’s original score.
9 time Grammy award winning artist John Legend was gifted the role of Executive Producer and had the task of putting together a group of artists featuring talent that are not normally associated with folk songs, blues or acoustic roots music:
“’12 Years a Slave’ is such a stunningly powerful film. I was so moved when I saw it,” John Legend said in a statement. “I felt every minute of it and was so inspired to contribute to the music of the soundtrack. This album brings together some incredible artists from different places and different genres who have all been touched by the film. When artists are inspired by great art, it makes us want to create. This album is the result of that inspiration.”
Legend is featured on the album twice alongside Alicia Keys‘ piano ballad “Queen of the Fields” Gary Clark Jr.’s country blues track “Freight Train”, Alabama Shakes re-do of “Driva Man” originally done by Jazz musician Max Roach and Laura Mvula‘s rendition of Rodger’s & Hart’s “Little Girl Blue”.
As the album takes on the themes of suffering, redemption, and freedom, it comes off a tad bit somber for obvious reasons – but it’s clear that those involved in the soundtrack became emotionally attached and put their heart and souls into the project. This movie is a must see and does what all good films are supposed to do; provoke change, conversation and empathy. The phenomenal album is available for download on iTunes now. Don’t miss the live broadcast of the 86th Annual Academy Awards on Sunday March 2nd at 7pm EST.
“12 Years A Slave (Music from and Inspired By the Motion Picture)” Tracklist
1. Devil’s Dream – Hans Zimmer
2. Roll Jordan Roll – John Legend
3. Freight Train – Gary Clark Jr.
4. Yarney’s Waltz – Hans Zimmer
5. Driva Man – Alabama Shakes
6. My Lord – Sunshine Sunrise
7. Move On Me – John Legend
8. Washington – Hans Zimmer
9. (In The Evening) When The Sun Goes Down – Gary Clark Jr.
10. Queen Of The Field – Alicia Keys
11. Solomon – Hans Zimmer
12. Little Girl Blue- Laura Mvula
13. Misery Chain – Chris Cornell w/ Joy Williams
14. Roll Jordan Roll – Full Cast
15. Money Musk – Hans Zimmer
16. What Does Freedom Mean To A Free Man – Cody Chestnutt