Photo Credit: Encanto
Disney scored another global hit in 2021 with its 60th animated feature film, Encanto – a fact perhaps best proved by the fact that the soundtrack album was released in 44 languages in addition to English and Spanish! It’s one of only six soundtracks from animated films to hit No. 1 in the US since Billboard started publishing their top 200 weekly in 1956. So, how many songs are in Encanto, and what’s the story behind them?
What Are All the Songs in Encanto?
The Encanto songs in order are:
- The Family Madrigal – Stephanie Beatriz, Olga Merediz, Encanto cast
- Waiting on a Miracle – Stephanie Beatriz
- Surface Pressure – Jessica Darrow
- We Don’t Talk About Bruno – Carolina Gaitan – La Gaita, Mauro Castillo, Adassa, Rhenzy Feliz, Diane Guerrero, Stephanie Beatriz
- What Else Can I Do? – Dianne Guerrero, Stephanie Beatriz
- Dos Oruguitas – Sebastian Yatra
- All of You – Stephanie Beatriz, Olga Merediz, John Leguizamo, Adassa, Maluma, Encanto cast
- Hola Casita – Germaine Franco
- Colombia, Mi Encanto – Carlos Vives
- Two Oruguitas – Sebastian Yatra
The 27 score tracks composed by Germaine Franco are:
- Abre Los Ojos
- Meet La Familia
- I Need You
- Antonio’s Voice
- El Baile Madrigal
- The Cracks Emerge
- Tenacious Mirabel
- Breakfast Questions
- Bruno’s Tower
- Mirabel’s Discovery
- The Dysfunctional Tango
- Chasing the Past
- Family Allies
- The Ultimate Vision
- Isabela La Perfecta
- Las Hermanas Pelean
- The House Knows
- La Candela
- El Rio
- It was Me
- El Camino De Mirabel
- Mirabel’s Cumbia
- The Rat’s Lair
- Tio Bruno
- Impresiones Del Encanto
- La Cubia de Mirabel
- The Family Madrigal (instrumental)
- Waiting on a Miracle (instrumental)
- Surface Pressure (instrumental)
- We Don’t Talk About Bruno (instrumental)
- What Else Can I Do? (instrumental)
- Dos Oruguitas (instrumental)
- All of You (instrumental)
- Colombia, Mi Encanto (instrumental)
Encanto – The Story
The Madrigals are an extraordinary family, who live hidden in the mountains of Colombia at the turn of the 20th century, in an enchanted place called Encanto (Spanish for ‘charm’). The house where they live, Casita, has blessed every child in the family with a unique gift. Every child, however, except 15-year-old Mirabel (voiced by Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Stephanie Beatriz.) But when the family look to be in danger of losing their magic, it’s up to Mirabel to save the day. It’s a story of love, family and miracles, that also takes in feelings of belonging and self-esteem, expectations and even intergenerational trauma.
The trailer uses instrumental music from the film, automatically transporting you into the Madrigals’ magical world in Colombia:
A New Disney Hit-Maker
As to what’s the most listened to song in Encanto, do we even need to spell it out? ‘We Don’t Talk About Bruno’ was such a smash that it reached No. 1 in the UK chart, the first original Disney song to do so. The song tells the story of the Madrigals’ long-lost uncle, Bruno, the outcast of the family who prophesied that they would all lose their magical powers.
At the time of writing, it’s been viewed over 516 million times on YouTube, and it hit over 100 million streams on Spotify within three months of the film’s release. If you’ve somehow avoided having it as a days-long earworm since its release, then either you don’t have children who had the movie on heavy repeat on Disney+, or you’re entirely immune to the work of one Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Most famous for composing the records-busting theatrical hit Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda previously worked on Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Moana. He was brought on board by Disney to compose eight original songs for the Encanto soundtrack. The Grammy, Emmy, Tony and Pulitzer winner told Variety how ‘We Don’t Talk about Bruno’ came together.
‘The challenge of the piece was always – and remains – that there are so many characters. How do we give them all complexity and real estate? So, I pitched a gossip number as, “We can learn a little bit about everyone by what they choose to whisper about”, you know? So, the gossip number was the pitch, and then the other idea became that they’ll all tell a kind of ghost story about him – but when you actually meet Bruno, you’ll realise there’s actually nothing scary about him.’
Miranda explained that the song is ‘a great chance to check in with the cast members who don’t get their own song: Dolores, Camilo, Pepa and Felix, and just a chance to get to know them.’ He also revealed that he wrote the song early in the film-making process, and screenwriters Jared Bush and Charise Castro Smith then incorporated his ideas into the story and characters.
Lin-Manuel Miranda originally suggested an animated musical set in Latin America, after Moana’s release. Directors Byron Howard and Jared Bush then decided on Colombia, as it’s the home of magical realism, and an area with a huge array of diversity in nature, all of which would enhance the backdrop to the movie’s story.
Here, Lin-Manuel Miranda reveals his inspiration behind some of the key songs he composed for the characters, the Colombian music traditions that underpin the tracks, and the guest artists:
The other major hit to emerge from the soundtrack was ‘Surface Pressure’, sung by super-strong sister Luisa. Miranda was ‘thinking about my older sister when I wrote it’ and he confessed to Variety that, ‘I didn’t account for how many older siblings would feel seen by the song!’ Both songs were written during lockdown in the pandemic, so the underlying feeling the composer had, was ‘How am I going to keep my family safe, and who am I if I can’t keep my family safe? Who am I if I cannot be this role that everyone sees me as?’
Lin Manuel Miranda gave an insight into his writing process for the opening song, ‘The Family Madrigal’ to The Wrap:
‘I think the songs are more integrated into the storytelling than any other animated project I’ve ever worked on. And they’re integrated in surprising ways. That’s the really fun part… We set ourselves this incredible challenge of, I think it’s three generations whose story we’re telling. And that means 12 major characters.
‘The opening number is like a musical family tree because I raised my hand and said, “If we don’t understand how everyone’s related, we’re so lost.” Even before we knew who had which power, I said, “Let me figure out how this sings, because if we can make it sing, then you can’t say it’s too complicated.”
The song is an expert intro not only to all the family members and their powers, but the fact that the house is magical too. Plus, it introduces the idea that the Madrigals have a responsibility to ‘help those around us’ and ‘earn the miracle that somehow found us.’
As for the final song in Encanto, Casita, the family’s house, has been dramatically destroyed. Mirabel brings the family together – including Bruno, yay! – to start to rebuild it, and they’re joined by the townsfolk, who want to help them.
‘All of You’ celebrates the fact that the family are all more than their ‘gifts’ (‘the miracle is you’); they, in turn, all appreciate Mirabel’s bravery. They give her a doorknob to add to the new front door, in which is reflected, ‘me. All of me.’
As she places it in the door, Casita’s magic is restored, as are the family’s gifts, and they have a celebratory family photo.
Bringing Colombian Music to Life
The team immersed themselves into Colombian culture, and the music takes in musical genres from vallenato to cumbia, bambuco and rock en espanol. There’s also salsa, tango, reggaetón and bachata. Plus, of course Lin-Manuel Miranda incorporates his trademark pop, hip hop and musical theatre elements. The tracks were recorded with Colombian musicians, including percussionists and accordionists.
Who Composed the Encanto Score?
Latina composer Germaine Franco, the first woman to score a Disney animated feature, created the Encanto score. Franco is also the first Latina composer invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ music branch.
Franco said that she wanted to find, ‘the feminine voice of the music of Colombia’, to celebrate the struggle, courage and persistence of Latinx women through the music. Franco had previously co-composed on Coco, and used a wealth of traditional folk instruments, including a harp called the arpa llanera and a Colombian flute called the gaita, which sounds like a bird, to create ‘another dimension of sound’ to capture the magical elements of the story.
Commenting on the score, Franco said, ‘[The team] created new textures and sonorities, using traditional Colombian instruments such as tiples, bandolas, cununos, marimba de chonta, arpa llanera from Latin America, mixed with orchestra.
‘The sound of the score is infused with many Colombian rhythmic styles including bambuco, mapalé, cumbia, and joropo.’
As well as instruments, Franco also involved Colombian musicians: ‘The women of Colombia are also musicians and singers, they’re called cantadoras and they have this tradition, especially in the Afro-Colombian areas, where the women play percussion, chant and sing. I wanted that sound.’ She organised a remote session in Colombia to get these very distinctive voices into the Encanto soundtrack.
Overall, Franco hopes that her score’s musical imagery, ‘evokes the resonant landscape of Colombia, the tenacity of our lead character, Mirabel, the strength of family, and our shared humanity.’
An Award-Winning Soundtrack
Although most people would think of ‘We Don’t Talk About Bruno’ as the Encanto theme song, it was the quieter ballad ‘Dos Orugitas’ which was put forward as the nomination for the Best Original Song at the Oscars.
The film’s music was nominated for Best Original Score – making Franco the first Latina to be nominated – and won the 2022 Annie Award for Outstanding Achievement for Music in a Feature Production. Franco was also nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Original Score and a Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media.
The Music That Makes the Movies
Encanto won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature at the 94th Academy Awards and it’s fair to say that its soundtrack is a huge part of its international success – videos tagged with ‘#encanto’ have amassed more than 11.5 billion views on TikTok.
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