I always knew that music would be an important character in Eve's Bayou.
Even as I was writing the first draft, I imagined a score.
The music in my head was epic, Romantic and Gothic, but with strong regional undertones.
When Terence Blanchard's name was mentioned to compose the score, I was immediately interested. He is, of course, an internationally known musician, but he has also distinguished himself as a versatile composer of film scores. Because Terence is from Louisiana, it was clear that he related to the story and the characters when we talked. Not being musical at all I struggled for words to describe the score I imagined. I said something like "Epic Black Southern Gothic."I was relieved when he seemed to understand. Terence's idea was to use a jazz quartet (piano, bass, guitar, drums) along with the orchestra, mixing
regional folk and jazz accents with traditional orchestration.
When I first heard Terence's score, I burst into tears, as I did many times
during the recording of it. While we were mixing the film, every time a cue came up that I particularly liked, I would announce excitedly, "This is my favorite cue," and everyone would agree, "Oh, yeah, mine too. It's incredible!" We said it so many times that it became a joke. I felt as if he eavesdropped on my soul, as I've often felt that my director of photography peers into my dreams. We were in love with the whole score.
Each time I watch the film there are particular moments where the marriage of the music and picture makes me shiver. One such cue is "Mozelle in the Mirror."
Mozelle is telling her niece, Eve, about a tragic night in her past when her lover came to the door of her house and confronted her husband with his love for her. As Mozelle tells the story, her memories become more vivid until Eve is able to see the fateful night reflected in a mirror. The cue starts simply with a beautiful romantic melody introduced by piano and clarinet. As Mozelle tells her story, the instrumentation builds gorgeously to full orchestra. I feel like Mozelle's whole life is captured in this one beautiful, passionate and tragic cue.
Another one of my favorites is "We're Going To Elzora's." The child, Eve, has decided to take fate into her own hands to solve the problems in her family. She consults an eccentric voodoo practitioner named Elzora and is led down unknown bayou roads to Elzora's house in the swamps. The music brings to mind the classic tale of a child's adventure into an unknown land; conveying mystery and danger through the use of low strings, all the while expressing the innocence of a ten year old in the playful melody that is Eve's theme.
The main theme of Eve's Bayou weaves through the drama seamlessly, sometimes epic and haunting, sometimes quiet and reflective and other times lush and romantic. It hints at secrets that can never be told and emotions that lurk beneath the surface.
Mr. Blanchard's gorgeous score captures the essence of Eve's Bayou. It is as rich, darkly beautiful and mysterious as a bayou in a summer's moonlight. I hope you enjoy it.
- KASI LEMMONS, Director