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Germaine Franco on building Encanto’s musical magic

Germaine Franco, Encanto

Welcome to Right on Cue, the podcast where we interview film, TV, and video game composers about the origins and nuances of their latest works.

It’s hard to think of another songbook in Disney’s oeuvre that has put a dent in pop culture quite like Encanto, the latest from Walt Disney Animation Studios. “We Don’t Talk About Bruno,” “The Family Madrigal,” “Surface Pressure,” all songs that have topped Billboard charts and dominated TikTok for more than a year now, courtesy of Hamilton scribe Lin-Manuel Miranda. But an equally vital part of Encanto‘s inviting world, an enchanted casita in which the vibrant members of the Madrigal family live and dream, is the orchestral score courtesy of Germaine Franco.

Germaine Franco, Encanto (Walt Disney Records)
Encanto Motion Picture Soundtrack, Original Score by Germaine Franco (Walt Disney Records)

It’s the score that made Franco an Oscar nominee, only the sixth woman in Oscar history to be nominated for Best Original Score (and the first Latina). And now, that same score is up for a Grammy for Score Soundtrack for Visual Media, alongside many of the same big names she competed against for the Academy Award earlier this year: Hans Zimmer, Jonny Greenwood, and Nicholas Britell.

Germaine’s score for Encanto is inviting and magical, making expert use of a variety of Latinx instruments and musical styles to fill in the many corners of the Madrigal family tree. Colombian rhythms mix with samba and cumbia, alongside more vital, traditional orchestral instrumentation. It’s a melting pot of influences that nonetheless span vast corners of the Latinx umbrella, making for a sound as narratively diverse as it is thematically appropriate.

Now, we welcome Germaine Franco to the show to discuss her score for Encanto, working with Lin-Manuel Miranda, and more.

You can find Germaine Franco at her official website here.

Encanto is currently streaming on Disney+. You can also listen to the score on your preferred music streaming service courtesy of Walt Disney Records.

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CategoriesRight on Cue
Clint Worthington

Clint Worthington is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Spool, as well as one of the founders of the website/podcast Alcohollywood in 2011. He is also a Senior Writer at Consequence of Sound, as well as the co-host/producer of Travolta/Cage. You can also find his freelance work at IndieWire, UPROXX, Syfy Wire, The Takeout, and Crooked Marquee.

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