Musical Score By: Dustin O’Halloran and Hauschka

Original Song By: Sia

Distributed by: Sony Music Masterworks

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                In the dramatic film, Lion, Dev Patel is Saroo, a thirty-year-old man with vague memories of his childhood prior to his adoption by an Australian couple (Nicole Kidman and David Wenham).  A yearning to find his real family comes upon him as those memories begin to surface while studying hotel management in Melbourne, Australia.  When Saroo was five, he boarded a train while searching for his older brother.  When the train departed the station, Saroo was stuck aboard.  Traveling thousands of miles across India, away from his home and his family, Saroo had to learn how to survive on his own in Kolkata until he was found by his adoptive parents.  Will he finally find his family after decades or will they be lost to him forever?

                The music of Lion was created by the creative team of American composer Dustin O'Halloran and German composer Volker Bertelmann, otherwise known as Hauschka.  Dustin O’Halloran is a pianist as well as a composer who has created a number of musical scores for television and film.  Some of his credits include Marie Antoinette, Like Crazy and Transparent.  An experimental musician, Hauschka began studying the piano at nine.  By the age of eighteen, he had already composed his first film score and became a recording artist with Sony Music.  Some time during this period, Hauschka developed a fascination with electronic music, creating the electronic sound elements without actually using electricity.  Since then, he has recorded a number of albums and created music for film, theatre, dance and art.

                The Lion Soundtrack begins with the song Never Give Up by Sia, a singer and songwriter raised in Australia, but gaining fame after moving to the U.K.  Sia Furler had been a hitmaking songwriter for artists like Rihanna, Beyonce, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears and Celine Dion before she became an international sensation with her 2013 solo album, 1000 Forms of Fear.  She’s been a chart-topper ever since.  Never Give Up is a perfect song for the film, an uplifting track in which the artist states that she will never give up no matter what hurdles she might face.  This would serve as a battle cry for Saroo who has faced many obstacles in his survival as a young boy and again in his search for his family.

                The score of Lion is a blend of piano, guitar and strings.  There is a definite nod towards Saroo’s home country in the simplistic beauty of the score, though I was somewhat surprised not to hear any of the instruments native to the region.  The score in itself is incredibly beautiful, with a main theme (Lion Theme) that begins with guitar and piano and is joined by strings.  This theme runs throughout the score, with each track sounding more beautiful than the next, despite a somber feel.  There are times in which pianos or strings take center stage, but on a whole, the soundtrack features all three with some minor bits of manipulation in sound here and there.  Every single track is designed to enhance the emotions of the characters in the film and does so beautifully.

                Upon listening to the Lion Soundtrack, I was mesmerized by the music.  I needed to know what this movie was about as soon as possible.  Now, after researching the film and listening to the score for a third time, I definitely want to see the film.  There is no doubt that the music fits the visuals of the film, but the Lion Soundtrack is just as beautiful as a standalone album.  This is definitely a soundtrack you will not want to miss.


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