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Section Header
The Power of One
(1992)
Composed, Co-Arranged, and Co-Produced by:
Hans Zimmer

Co-Arranged, Lyrics, and Co-Produced by:
Lebo M.

Orchestrated by:
Bruce Fowler

Co-Produced by:
Jay Rifkin

Label:
Elektra Entertainment

Release Date:
May 19th, 1992

Also See:
The Lion King

Audio Clips:
1. The Rainmaker (0:28):
WMA (188K)  MP3 (239K)
Real Audio (168K)

2. Mother Africa (0:31):
WMA (204K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

3. Of Death & Dying (0:32):
WMA (213K)  MP3 (269K)
Real Audio (189K)

9. Penny Whistle Song (0:32):
WMA (213K)  MP3 (269K)
Real Audio (189K)

Availability:
Regular U.S. release, but out of print by the 2000's and selling at that time for $40 or more.

Awards:
  None.









The Power of One
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Buy it... if you have always been impressed by the Lebo M.-influenced portions of The Lion King, in which case The Power of One is an authentic sibling score of surprisingly defiant and optimistic character.

Avoid it... if you expect to hear more than just a hint of the instrumental style of Hans Zimmer in the accompaniment of the South African vocalists, because this score is dominated by the solemn but hopeful performances by the latter group.



Zimmer
The Power of One: (Hans Zimmer) You'll be challenged to find a film as depressing as The Power of One, a character story about one young white man's life-long struggles to overcome personal tragedy and fight for equality during the height of apartheid in South Africa. His friends, family, and inspirations are nearly all executed in gruesome, violent ways, graphically depicting the very worst in racist behavior that plagued the country. Director John G. Avildsen managed to insert some hope into the adaptation of the 1989 novel by emphasizing the toughness of hand to hand combat, an element of success in his Rocky and The Karate Kid films. The production was obviously not received well by the South African government; despite the slow political shift towards open, multi-racial democratic elections there, The Power of One debuted in 1992, a couple of years before Nelson Mandela's victory. One of the interesting byproducts of the displeasure that The Power of One brought upon members of its crew was the impact that the film had on composer Hans Zimmer. One scene in the film includes a song with intentionally subversive lyrics to be performed by prisoners to celebrate the visit of a ranking official in the prison system. Music plays a much larger role in The Power of One, from Zimmer's original score to the traditional choral performances arranged by Lebo M. These well-coordinated recordings had such an impact on the film as to cause Zimmer himself to be black-listed in South Africa for having engaged in subversive filmmaking. In fact, when Zimmer teamed with Lebo M. once more for The Lion King not long after, the studio insisted that it wasn't safe for the composer to travel to South Africa again for the obviously similar recording requirements. Zimmer claims to have had no personal connection to Africa despite composing no less than half a dozen scores for serious films involving racial conflict in that continent. He instead has always been touched by the style of African music, though he admits that his attempts at representing it through his scores is more frequently based on Western notions that simply utilize native colors. His interest in writing for the region extended from a segment in A World Apart that eventually led to his involvement in The Power of One, which he considered a satisfying extension of the same sound. Of course, Zimmer's compelling recording of The Power of One directly led to his hiring on The Lion King, a score that continued to explore generally the same choral tones and thematic structures.

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Although Zimmer does utilize his keyboards to provide depth to some cues (along with a few moments with those gloriously beautiful woodwind solos akin to The Lion King), the majority of the soundscape in The Power of One is comprised of acoustic percussion and the choral performances. Zimmer and Lebo M. had busloads of singers, none of whom could read music, brought to a warehouse in South Africa to perform lyrics in their native languages for a simple, two-microphone setup. The result is an extremely wet-sounding (reverberating) collection of strikingly authentic recordings that blend seamlessly between the original, source, and traditional compositions. Likely due to Lebo M.'s arrangements, the vocalizations in The Power of One have a distinctly authentic tone, though you can easily hear Zimmer's typical, soothing progressions as the base for the slightly improvised singing. Within the choir, there are a significant number of soloists, highlighted by a female voice that is downright heartbreaking in several places. The duo of "The Rainmaker" and "Mother Afrika" appropriately identify the locale and primary character, though the main theme of The Power of One exists in the latter, not only reprised to close the album but translated into a less exuberant version in "Of Death & Dying." What's striking about the major score pieces by Zimmer is how upbeat they tend to be; their sense of hope doesn't shake their roots in tragedy, but the album experience is far brighter than watching the film. The drum arrays beef up the ambience in "The Rainmaker," "Mother Africa (Reprise)," and "Woza Mfana." A singular piece of interest from Zimmer is "Penny Whistle Song," which is sprightly with clapping effects and a jaunty rhythm that sounds vaguely similar to some ideas explored by James Horner at the time. The highlight of the score is arguably "Of Death & Dying," which happens to be the most somber cue as well as the most beautiful. The traditional recordings and source pieces written by David Khabo and performed by the Bulawayo Church Choir fit well with Zimmer's material, which amounts to over 30 minutes in length on the rare Elektra album. The composer has never been a big fan of expanded albums of his own work, though he has expressed an interest in seeing The Power of One receive another album treatment (he remains proud of the score to this day). Unfortunately, the out of print CD has fetched ridiculous prices on the secondary market, and for listeners expecting to hear Zimmer music that rests comfortably in his non-African styles of the time, there may be some disappointment. But it is an outstanding companion to The Lion King, the later score's more authentic sibling. ****   Amazon.com Price Hunt: CD or Download

Bias Check:For Hans Zimmer reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 3 (in 87 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 3.02 (in 262,474 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.





 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  


Regular Average: 3.2 Stars
Smart Average: 3.15 Stars*
***** 30 
**** 26 
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 Track Listings: Total Time: 48:58


• 1. The Rainmaker (7:46)
• 2. Mother Africa (6:19)
• 3. Of Death & Dying (4:11)
• 4. Limpopo River Song* - performed by The Bulawayo Church Choir (1:54)
• 5. The Power of One** - performed by Teddy Pendergrass (5:17)
• 6. Woza Mfana (1:56)
• 7. Southland Concerto** (2:26)
• 8. Senzenina** (1:48)
• 9. Penny Whistle Song (2:14)
• 10. The Funeral Song* - performed by The Bulawayo Church Choir (1:42)
• 11. Wangal' Unozipho* - performed by The Bulawayo Church Choir (3:24)
• 12. Mother Africa Reprise (8:02)

* composed by David Khabo
** composed and/or arranged by Johnny Clegg




 Notes and Quotes:  


The insert includes a note from the composer about the score.





   
  All artwork and sound clips from The Power of One are Copyright © 1992, Elektra Entertainment. The reviews and other textual content contained on the filmtracks.com site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 3/24/10 (and not updated significantly since). Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 2010-2013, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.