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  • Composed by Benjamin Wallfisch
  • Varèse Sarabande / 45m

Mully is a documentary about Kenyan philanthropist Charles Mulli: abandoned by his family aged six, he made an improbable rise to head a business empire and then, when he’d made enough money, started giving it all away to help street children.  Nearly 25,000 have benefited so far.  Benjamin Wallfisch’s score is, as you might expect, of the inspirational kind: the opening “Father to the Fatherless” is a very sincere, beautiful piece of “worthy music”; the same melody forms the basis for the subsequent “Nairobi”, but the tone (helped by the presence of vocalist Tori Letzler) is much more sombre.  And sombre things remain, for a while – lots of strained strings, harrowing conditions reflected in the music, but with beauty always bubbling under, waiting to get through.

In “A New Life” Wallfisch introduces some choppy strings, signalling forward motion, and the lovely main theme emerging into a portrait of calmness.  For the first time we hear the score’s secondary theme, the first hint of African music, bright and cheerful.  It’s the album’s finest track.  Following it is an unexpected (but very entertaining) piece of funky jazz, “Mullyways”, but then there’s a (thankfully one-off) diversion into disappointing Remote Control suspense stylings.  Fortunately this doesn’t last and the composer’s class shines through in everything else.  He goes all-out to tug the heartstrings as the score nears its conclusion, “Finding Water” and “Mully Children’s Family” in particular doing the trick.  For all its quality, this is very “heavy” music and as such the album experience isn’t always the easiest: it’s not a long album but it can be emotionally draining at times.  The underlying worthiness of it all is certainly to be applauded and it will do the composer’s growing reputation no harm whatsoever.

Rating: *** 1/2 | |

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