Indian Rahman & Finnish Värttinä Make Rings MusicDate: 21 October 2003
Bombay Dreams's AR Rahman, India's most popular composer, and Finnish folk group Värttinä will collaborate in creating the original score for the new £8 million, stage musical version of The Lord of the Rings. The epic is due to receives its world premiere in the West End in spring 2005, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the publication of the complete J R R Tolkien trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King.
In addition to Bombay Dreams - the Andrew Lloyd Webber-produced Bollywood musical still running at the West End's Apollo Victoria and due to open on Broadway in spring 2004 - A R Rahman has composed the soundtracks for over 50 Bollywood films, selling more than 100 million soundtrack albums. He has also composed for television and recording artists.
The group Värttinä is fronted by three female singers and supported by six acoustic musicians. They are now celebrating their 20th year and the release of their tenth album. They have touring internationally since 1990. The original inspiration for Tolkien's stories and languages (such as Elvish), and for much of Värttinä's music and lyrics, is the Kalevala, Finland's national epic of mythological songs, poems and stories.
Kevin Wallace, who is producing The Lord of the Rings with filmmaker Saul Zaentz, says of the songwriting team: "A fusion of A R Rahman's and Värttinä's exceptional talents and contemporary sounds, rooted in the antiquity of their respective traditions, will provide Tolkien's mythological world of Middle Earth with a pure, unique and dynamic score.
"At the heart of this spectacular epic is an intense story of personal and collective endeavour that grips the audience's imagination, immersing them completely in the experience; the music of A R Rahman and Värttinä has the dramatic range to do just that. I am pleased the music of the project's initial composers Stephen Keeling and Bernd Stromberger is also available to the production."
The Lord of the Rings will have a book and lyrics by Shaun McKenna. The premiere production will be directed by Matthew Warchus and designed by Rob Howell, with musical supervision by Christopher Nightingale.
- by Terri Paddock