Back to Gaya

Composed by: Michael Kamen

Distributed by: MovieScore Media

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            Released by Warner Bros. in Germany in 2004, Back to Gaya (internationally known as Boo, Zino and the Snurks) is an animated film featuring mythical creatures known as Snurks.  The world knows Boo (Alan Marriot) and Zino (Glenn Wrange) as characters from a hit television series, but the two truly exist in a magical world known as Gaya.  When an evil professor steals the Dalamite, a magical stone without which Gaya will no survive, it's up to Boo and Zino to bring it back.  Of course, that means escaping the confines of their television set and venturing out into a whole new world rife with adventure and certain danger.

            New York City native Michael Kamen was selected to compose the musical score for Back to Gaya.  As a teenager, Kamen attended The High School of Music and Art in New York City and later attended The Juilliard School.  Studying oboe in school, Kamen formed a rock classical fusion band called the New York Rock & Roll Ensemble.  The band members performed in tuxedos and Kamen and high school friend Mark Snow would play an oboe duet.  An extremely successful arranger in the realms of pop and rock music, Kamen was sought after by such greats as Pink Floyd, Queen, The Cranberries, Jim Croce, the Eurythmics, Metallica and more.  As a composer, Michael Kamen created musical scores for such notable films as The Dead Zone, the first three films of the Die Hard series, X-Men, Highlander, Frequency and Mr. Holland's Opus.

            The musical score for Back to Gaya would be Michael Kamen's final work as the artist suffered a heart attack and died in 2003.  Suffering from MS for six years prior to his death, his sudden passing still came as a surprising shock to his team of producers and orchestrators.  Kamen had begun sketching out the musical score of the film, but he had not yet completed it before his death.  It took a team of skilled orchestrators, producers and additional composers to complete Kamen's vision for the film.

            The resulting soundtrack is truly incredible.  I listened to the soundtrack prior to reading the promotional material included with it.  It is telling that I had no idea that the musical score had been created for an animated film.  That it was composed for an action/adventure film possible set in a science fiction or fantasy environment was readily apparent, but I had no idea that this wasn't an epic live action film. 

            The musical score is tailored to fit the action taking place in the film.  The third track, entitled Flying, gives the listener the impression of soaring over great heights and also serves as a sort of anthem for the heroes of the film.  In Fireworks, woodwinds give the listener the impression of rockets and whirligigs, while crashing cymbals and thundering kettle drums offset each explosive burst.  The listener gets an early impression of how evil the Professor is in his title track, featuring dark, low toned music mixed with a bit of squeaky violins that give the listener the idea that the Professor is not only evil, but a tad bit demented.  The Vortex features swirling trumpets and woodwinds which serve to offset the swirl of the vortex.   The more you listen, the easier it is for you to picture events in the film.  The action-filled tracks featuring fast-paced, adrenaline pumping music are sprinkled throughout the album culminating in the happy, animated track entitled We're Free!

            I find it amazing that Michael Kamen's team of organizers, producers and composers were able to take the sketches of his vision for the musical score of Back to Gaya and turn it into such an incredible work of art.  The music is fun and uplifting and tells the story of the film with each track.  MovieScore Media released the Back to Gaya Soundtrack in digital and CD format on January 24, 2012.  The CD version is limited to 1000 copies.  The Back to Gaya Soundtrack is an incredible piece of composition worth checking out and the proceeds go to a worthy cause.  A portion of the revenues generated from the sales of this soundtrack will be shared with Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation in honor of Michael Kamen who created the foundation in 1996 as part of his commitment to the future of music. 


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