The Least Among You

Music Composed by: Mark Kilian

Distributed by: Lakeshore Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            Based on a true story about reverend and noted theology professor Dr. Charles Marks, The Least Among You follows Richard Kelly (Cedric Sanders) through his most formative years.  Falsely arrested during the 1965 Watts riots, Richard finds himself at a crossroads.  Face with the possibility of jail, he agrees to serve a two-semester probation at an all-white seminary run by a seemingly progressive president (William Devane).  However, as the school’s first black student, Richard comes to realize that what the school wants to produce is not great black leaders, but followers.  As he contemplates violating the terms of his probation, Richard meets the school’s elderly janitor, Samuel  (Louis Gossett, Jr.), who becomes Richard’s guide and mentor as Richard faces racism and personal demons and fights to become the man of honor and leadership he has always dreamed of becoming. 

            The soundtrack of The Least Among You was created by Mark Kilian, a South African musician and composer who began his musical career as a jazz pianist, performing with numerous local jazz and rock outfits and dabbling in musical theater.  Kilian began working in musical scoring for film in 1997. Since then, he has amassed quite an impressive résumé, having created celebrated musical scores for Tsotsi, La Mission, Before the Rains, Legacy and more.

            I have yet to hear a soundtrack from Mark Kilian that I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed.  The thing I really like about Kilian is that he doesn’t just take music he enjoys writing and modify it for a particular project.  Instead, he makes each soundtrack unique to the project itself by formulating the music from the film’s environment.  Thus, no two soundtracks that Kilian works on ever sound alike.

            The Least Among You Soundtrack has a very distinctive gospel quality to it.  I love gospel music.  It contains an intensity and sense of abandoning one’s self to one’s Lord that makes the music not only fun, but incredibly beautiful and inspirational.  One cannot stand in a room with gospel music playing and not start tapping their feet or clapping their hands, wanting to join in on the lifting up of one’s voice to the Lord and creating a beautiful noise. 

            Of course, there are moments on the soundtrack that reflect a sense of anguish and anger.  These outbursts of angry music represent the hardships Richard Kelly and Samuel have endured on their paths in life.  But it’s the gospel-inspired music that stands out the most.  My favorite track is smack dab in the middle of the album.  Set Me Free is an actual gospel song with inspirational lyrics that offers a terrific break in the musical score sections of the album.  I found myself singing along with the harmony, wearing a smile from ear to ear.

            The Least Among You Soundtrack is just one more example of the diversity Mark Kilian is capable of.  With every project he takes on, Kilian finds a way to create a musical score that is incredibly unique and very well suited to the film it represents.  The Least Among You Soundtrack will make a great addition to any Mark Kilian fan collection.  Any fan of gospel music will find quite a bit to enjoy about this album as well.


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