The Kite Runner
Composed by: Alberto Iglesias
Distributed by: Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
I first saw a preview of The Kite Runner last month and thought to myself that this seemed like an interesting movie. As far as I could tell, this was a story of two young Afghan boys who form a friendship evolving around kite flying. Of course, the previews didn’t really tell much of the story. I now know that this movie is truly a story of redemption centering about one youth in particular – Amir – and his life in Kabul just prior to the Soviet invasion, his flight from Afghanistan to America with his father after the invasion, and his return, as an adult, to an Afghanistan now under the Taliban regime. The film is said to offer a unique look at the lives of the Afghan people prior to and during the Taliban regime. It also helps us to understand a bit of American history as we learn about the lives of Afghan emigrants to this country in the late 1980s. The film still interested me and so I was delighted to receive the soundtrack for review.
The Kite Runner Soundtrack is composed by Alberto Iglesias, one of Spain’s most highly acclaimed composers. Prior to his extensive career in movie soundtrack composition, Iglesias received classical training that included piano, guitar, and electronic musical studies. Beginning in 1980, Iglesias amassed an admirable list of movie soundtrack compositions which include Comandante, The Constant Gardener, Todo Sobre Mi Madre, The Dancer Upstairs and more. His original score for the movie The Constant Gardener received an Oscar nomination and a Cannes Film Festival Award. He has also been nominated for and awarded numerous CEC and Goya Awards for his various compositions over the years.
Alberto Iglesias’ composition for The Kite Runner Soundtrack truly captures the feel of the Afghan culture through his use of local wind instruments such as the Turkish clarinet, the Bansuri flute, the ney, and the duduk, stringed instruments such as the santur, the oud, and the rubab, and percussion instruments such as the tabla. He combines these sounds with that of conventional string instruments – violins, cellos, harps, guitars, etc – keyboards, wind instruments – bassoons, clarinets, trombones, flutes and horns - and a mixture of electric and acoustic string instruments. Added to the original compositions are songs performed by people of the region such as Ahmad Zahir, Ehsan Aman and Sami Yusuf, a British singer of Iranian-Azerbaijanian background.
As a whole, I didn’t enjoy this soundtrack as much as I would have liked. The music was not much to my taste, although I did enjoy the employment of instruments from other cultures. I found Fly a Kite and Reading the Letter to be highly enjoyable – these tracks were more of a classical nature, reminding the listeners of Iglesias’ classical training. While I found I could take or leave The Kite Runner Soundtrack as a stand alone CD, I feel that the music probably fits in well with the movie and look forward to hearing the music as combined with the various scenes it was composed for.