Inspired by the musical instruments from West Africa, Ludwig Göransson thought he had a pretty clear idea forward. The Swedish composer had put together an entirely new world of sounds and sonic motifs for the original song. But it was not as plain-sailing said the composer who won the Oscar for best original score in 2018’s Black Panther.
“Lift Me Up” was written as a tribute to the extraordinary life and legacy of Chadwick Boseman by Tems, Oscar winner Ludwig Göransson, Rihanna and Ryan Coogler. The song was recorded in five countries and was produced by Göransson. Released via Rihanna’s own Westbury Road label, it is in partnership with Roc Nation, Def Jam Recordings and Hollywood Records.
The song’s concept was collectively inspired by the Mayan culture, the result of the trips that Göransson made to Mexico City to meet with music archaeologists to reimagine what Mayan music would have sounded like. Historically, even the music is no longer available for us, the archaeologists found flute-like instruments in the graves, including one he says is called the flute of truth – like a dog whistle, its sonic waves are gravely uncomfortable for the human ear.
Watch the music video of Rihanna’s ‘Lift Me Up’ on YouTube, here.
Göransson worked alongside indigenous and contemporary singers and rappers – aiming to create “a unique, immersive sound experience where the songs and score are all one format,” he added. Working on both the score and the soundtrack, he weaved the two mediums together – usually handled by different music departments.
Together with Coogler, Göransson spent a total of ten days in Nigeria. A place he describes as a musical hotspot with more than 350 tribes that have their own musical instruments and languages.
The soundtrack, featuring also another cover song ‘No Woman, No Cry’ by Nigerian singer Tems.
“After speaking with Ryan and hearing his direction for the film and the song, I wanted to write something that portrays a warm embrace from all the people that I’ve lost in my life. I tried to imagine what it would feel like if I could sing to them now and express how much I miss them.”
— Tems, music artist.
The soundtrack album producers are Ryan Coogler, Ludwig Göransson, Archie Davis and Dave Jordan. The Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – Original Score, composed and produced by Ludwig Göransson.
In the end, Göransson spent more than 2,500 hours recording the score and soundtrack—which involved six studios, across three continents and five countries. He worked with more than 40 different singers and 250 musicians.
The Black Panther: Wakanda Forever soundtrack will get released on November 4. On November 11, Ludwig Göransson’s original score for the film is issued by Hollywood Records.