Happy New Year!

For me, this past year brought incredible opportunities, not the least of which was the brilliant short film “Takanakuy.”

Talk and knock who? Allow me to elaborate.

Takanakuy is a tradition celebrated in Santo Tomas in Peru. On Christmas Day, folks get dressed up and literally fistfight each other in order to air out old grievances and grudges. Women and children participate in this, too, not just men.

Now, what sort of music do you suppose accompanies this tradition? Turns out it’s Huylian music, which actually sounds very asian due to its reliance on the Pentatonic scale (you can hear some in this video, which is actually a fascinating documentary piece on the tradition):

Something else I came across in my research was the tendency for the crowd to chant, sing, clap hands and stomp feet in addition to the plucked accompaniment:

So, combined with the director’s wish to include both Peruvian/Huylian style and traditional Asian Kung-Fu sounds, I was able to find a musical genome for this project. It was super easy, too, because those two styles sound a LOT alike and blend really well. Here is a taste of the end result, which are the end titles of the film:

The percussionist in me rejoiced at the opportunity to do a very rhythmic, driving and primal score. I had so much fun with this film, and the director and crew were fantastic. If I can find projects and collaborators like this consistently throughout my career, I will be one happy composer guy.

UPDATE: Turns out this film was nominated for Best Comedy at the 36th College Television Awards! (skip to: 1:38:45) A huge congratulations to the cast and crew!