Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Composed By: Dario Marianelli

Distributed by: Lakeshore Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            Based on the novel by Paul Torday, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is a British comedy starring Ewan McGregor is Alfred Jones, a British fisheries expert who is approached by consultant Harriet Chetwode-Talbot (Emily Blunt) in an effort to make Sheikh Muhammadís (Amr Waked) dream of bringing fly-fishing to the desert a reality.  Alfred believes the idea to be ludicrous and completely impossible, but when the Prime Ministerís press secretary (Kristen Scott Thomas) decides that it would make a great goodwill story, the mission is on to make the impossible possible.

            The musical score of Salmon Fishing in the Yemen was created by Italian composer Dario Marianelli.  Born in Pisa, Italy, Dario Marianelli studied piano and musical composition in Florence and London and served as a postgraduate composer at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama Scholarships allowed Marianelli to study composition and choreography at Bretton University College, European Film Music in Germany and spend three years at the National Film and Television School.  He made his foray into film scoring in 1994 with the film Ailsa and since then has composed a number of musical scores for such well-known films as Pride and Prejudice, Atonement, The Brothers Grimm, V for Vendetta, Eat Pray Love and Jane Eyre.

            The music of the Salmon Fishing in the Yemen Soundtrack begins with an orchestral feel.  The music is light and airy and inspiring in the Prologue.  The following track, Machinations, features a bit of a blend between orchestral and militaristic, not one of my favorite tracks on the album.  However, it is beautifully followed up with Celtic tunes in the third track, entitled Scotland.  The music expresses the beauty of the land and its culture.  As the album moves forward, we are treated to the sounds of Yemen, the Arabic culture, featuring musical instruments of the region.  In between all of this is a track called The Threat which is rather ominous and foreboding.

            My favorite tracks blend the sounds of the Scottish Highlands with those of Yemen, bringing the two cultures together in quite a unique way.  One such track is Happy Ending which features an interesting blend of traditional Arabic instruments like the oud and the kaval with the traditional Scottish instruments like the pipes and bagpipes (which I am a huge fan of, by the way). 

            The musical score of Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is so uniquely uplifting and inspirational, I found myself wondering exactly what was going on in each scene the music was composed for.  There is an intrinsic beauty to this album that makes it a perfect accompaniment to the film it was created for and an enjoyable stand alone album that any music aficionado would enjoy.  Despite the strange title and premise, I found myself wanting to see this film simply based on the musical score and that says a lot for Dario Marianelli and his skills as a composer.

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