He Named Me Malala

Musical Score By: Thomas Newman

Distributed by: Sony Music

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                The documentary, He Named Me Malala, focuses on the life of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai.  At the age of fifteen, Malala and her father were singled out by the Taliban for advocating for girls' education.  The recipient of a sever gunshot wound, Malala's survival was testimony to her toughness and her faith.  Her injury sparked public outcry.  Her continuation of her fight for education for all girls in the face of such animosity is an inspiration for us all.

                The musical score of He Named Me Malala was created by Thomas Newman, an American composer who comes from a long family history in music, including his father, brother, sister, uncles and cousins.  Having scored over seventy films, Newman has been nominated for twelve Academy Awards and has won an Emmy, two BAFTA Awards and six Grammy Awards.  Examples of his creations include the musical scores of American Beauty, Skyfall, Erin Brockovich, Finding Nemo, Wall-E and The Helpp.

                The music of this documentary is mainly orchestral, but features instruments from Malala's homeland.  The resulting score is quite beautiful and inspiring.  The piano theme found in A Pashtun Story can be found in other tracks on the album.  The theme speaks to the complexity of Malala's tale and the growth of the music from a simple piano piece to pianos accompanied by strings, bells and other instruments speaks to the growth in character and determination of Malala herself.

                With his compositions for He Named Me Malala, Thomas Newman managed to interpret Malala's strength in belief and character and her determination to bring to other young girls in her community a gift she, herself, was afforded - a good education.  As a stand alone album, He Named Me Malala is quite the beautiful listen, but once you realize the entire story the music is meant to tell, the album has that much more meaning than just a beautiful musical score.  This is the story of a beautiful life set to music, one meant to inspire and bring hope to those who have little of it.


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