Along with the songs he performs, Phil Collins sees his compositions recorded by several diverse artists on Walt Disney’s “Brother Bear” soundtrack. As previously reported, Tina Turner contributes vocals to one song, as do the Blind Boys Of Alabama and the Bulgarian Women’s Choir.
“The song is great and the music is wonderful,” Turner says of Collins’ “Great Spirits,” the first song heard in the film, which is the story of a boy transformed into a bear and forced to survive and redefine his view of the world. “There’s a real spiritual quality to it and the message is about love and care and coming together.”
The Blind Boys, a six decade-old act that has experienced a surge in popularity in recent years, performs “Welcome” at a joyous point in the film. “The filmmakers wanted the song to have a mood that was really soulful as opposed to the frat party thing,” Collins explains. “Having grown up in the ’60s, soul meant the Motown and Stax sounds to me. So I took some of this and a bit of that feel and went from there.”
Most intriguing is the Bulgarian Women’s Choir’s “Transformation.” Collins’ lyrics were translated into the Inuit Eskimo language for the performance, which was arranged by score co-composers Collins and Mark Mancina and vocal arranger Eddie Jobson. “The idea of them singing in a language that is completely foreign to them gave the song a texture and sound that was unique,” Mancina says. “The sound is cross-cultural.”
“It’s unlike anything I’ve ever done before and it doesn’t sound like anything that’s been in a Disney film before,” Collins adds. “It’s kind of a melting pot. It’s definitely world music.”
Collins contributed six songs to the film and collaborated on its score with Mancina, whose previous work includes the Disney features “The Lion King” and “Tarzan.” Collins previously contributed to the soundtrack of “Tarzan,” including the song “You’ll Be In My Heart,” which earned him an Oscar and a Golden Globe.
The Walt Disney Records soundtrack, due Oct. 21, features Collins’ versions of “Welcome” and “Transformation,” along with the respective Blind Boys and Women’s Choir versions. It also boasts the film version and a single version of “No Way Out (Theme From Brother Bear).”
“Look Through My Eyes,” the soundtrack’s first single, is No. 15 on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary radio airplay chart.
“Brother Bear” features the voices of Joaquin Phoenix (“Gladiator,” “Signs”) as the main character, Kenai, and Jeremy Suarez (“The Bernie Mac Show”) as his sidekick, Koda. Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas resurrect the spirit of their “SCTV” characters Bob and Doug McKenzie for the voices of moose Rutt and Tuke. Also adding voices are D.B. Sweeney (“Dinosaur”), Michael Clarke Duncan (“The Green Mile”) and Greg Proops (“Whose Line Is It Anyway?”), among others.
The film opens Oct. 24 in New York and Los Angeles, and Nov. 1 in wide U.S. theatrical release.
Here is the track list for “Brother Bear”:
“Look Through My Eyes,” Phil Collins
“Great Spirits,” Tina Turner
“Welcome,” Phil Collins
“No Way Out (Theme From Brother Bear)” – single version, Phil Collins
“Transformation,” the Bulgarian Women’s Choir
“On My Way,” Phil Collins
“Welcome,” the Blind Boys Of Alabama
“No Way Out (Theme From Brother Bear),” Phil Collins
“Transformation,” Phil Collins
“Three Brothers” (score)
“Awakes as a Bear” (score)
“Wilderness of Danger and Beauty” (score)