Soundtrack from PBS Miniseries The New Americans Released March 8, 2004;
The New Americans is a Three-Part Documentary by Producers of Hoop Dreams,
Airing March 29-31
Los Angeles, CA - March 5, 2004 - Just as America is a synthesis of the experiences of those who immigrate here, Norman Arnold's score for Kartemquin Films' The New Americans, is a poignant synthesis of music representing the hopes and dreams of the immigrants profiled in the three-part miniseries. Debuting on PBS as part of the acclaimed Independent Lens series, this groundbreaking seven-hour documentary comes from the team that brought us Hoop Dreams: executive producers Steve James and Gordon Quinn. The soundtrack for the series will be released to coincide with the series' debut, March 29-31. The album's sweeping world music style reflects the subjects of the film, which follows the lives of new American immigrants over the course of four years. Arnold's musical compositions incorporate music from Mexico, India, The West Bank, Nigeria, and the Dominican Republic, along with his own blend of influences for something foreign, yet familiar. Musically, the soundtrack stands alone without relying on the film's visuals to carry it.
"In the film, there are stories and themes that are specific to each family, but there is also music, such as the opening titles and the epilogue, where all the different cultures are represented," Arnold says. "It was interesting to approach each culture, each country, with their style of music in mind, and also come up with global sounds that are more universal."
The authenticity of the sound stems from Arnold's deep understanding of both world music and cultures. Fluent in Spanish, the Canadian-born Arnold has traveled extensively through South America, Central America, and Mexico studying music and culture. The track "Flores in the Fields" is an example of Arnold's touch in merging styles. An emotional piece scored with a string quartet and marimba, its haunting melody underscores the struggles of the Flores family. The pieces "Ogoni History" and "Opening Title" incorporate powerful authentic African drumming to create a visceral and poignant image of struggle.
Arnold composed and conducted all of the music for the soundtrack. It was recorded in Los Angeles and in Mexico City, with members of the Mexico City Philharmonic Orchestra, and also features several songs with singers Nil Lara and Lupita Jimenez.
The New Americans marks a high point in creativity and scope for Arnold. A recent article in Variety calls him one of the "hot new creatives in film and TV music," profiling him alongside Hans Zimmer and Jonathon Wolff. The New Americans soundtrack marks
a culmination of Arnold's experiences and announces him as a film composer to watch-and hear.
The CD is available at www.cdbaby.com/newamericans.
The New Americans will be broadcast on PBS's Independent Lens Series March 29-31 at 9:00 p.m. To confirm local broadcast dates and times visit www.itvs.org/newamericans. Visit the companion Web site at www.pbs.org/newamericans. The documentary will also be shown at a number of film festivals including Santa Barbara and South by Southwest.
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