" What a refreshing experience "
Written by Thomas Glorieux
- Review of
the regular release
Endurance is a docudrama about the famous distance runner Haile Gebrselassie with Gebrselassie playing the role of himself. And what's more important is that composer John Powell was given the chance to tie all the ethnic influences together, embroidering a western bridge so that the people could understand what was going on musically. Now the experience you receive because of this stitch job is nothing short of entertaining, because it's quite a joy to sit through this 50 minute experience. There are a couple of African songs here that authenticate the entire experience easily, but once Powell starts using those very same vocals accompanied by a playful melody, it becomes quite easily irresistible.
That moment comes early in "Main Titles" which is just a lot of fun. To continue we have some Thomas Newman sprightliness near the end of "The Dressing Room", soft music for guitar and flute in "Mother" and "Halie Runs to School" and a typical Powell playfulness in "Chasing the Bull" which is just so delightful to listen to. There are also several tracks that paint a more somber picture, but both "Mother Falls" and "Mother is Sent Away" never cross a line that make em too burdensome. But what makes Endurance above all recommendable is the 11 minute "The Final Race", because a true John Powell completest has to have heard it at least once in his lifetime. For 6 minutes we receive a serious sounding tone, gradually increasing in speed and growing in determination, before exploding in the 7th minute with the main theme of track 2 and a full avant garde finale, putting that main theme through a couple of rousing versions.
Making Endurance quite the catch. Even if you're not totally into African singing, Powell's underscore is so fetching and lovely to listen to that it makes for quite a good background experience. And the 11 minute finale is really the standing ovation of this score. Enough for me to say that true Powell fans ought to look out for it. There's quite a bit of playful music here that still sounds fresh and so identifiable after all this time, intermixed with several African songs from various artists. Making it an interesting, eclectic but above all rewarding experience I didn't expect at all.
1. Gigi's Lament * (1.55)
2. Main Titles (2.28) Excellent track
3. The Dressing Room (3.03)
4. The Struggle of Life + (2.13)
5. Mother (2.34)
6. Halie Runs to School (1.56)
7. Stealing Batteries for the Radio (1.57)
8. Chasing the Bull (2.23)
9. The Great Tree (3.17)
10. Mother Falls ++ (2.36)
11. Mother is Sent Away (2.22)
12. Forbidden (4.29)
13. The Bus to Addis (2.14)
14. Chosen to Run for Ethiopia (1.17)
15. The Final Race (11.15) Excellent track
16. My Son +++ (4.22)
* Composed and performed by Ejigayehu "Gigi" Shibabaw
+ Features "Medina / Zelesogria" performed by Lemme Gebre Hiwot
++ Features "Tigrigna" performed by Areru Shegane, Teka Tema and Yohanoss Afework
+++ English lyrics by Judith Owen, vocal performance by Jeff Young, Ethiopian vocals by Ejigayehu "Gigi" Shibabaw
Total Length: 50.21