I am simply OBSESSED with the music in Disney’s Moana! From the first time I saw the film, I new that it was going to be a hit, and that’s largely in part to the incredible soundtrack with music and lyrics by Opetaia Foa’i and Lin-Manuel Miranda. (You can check out my interview with Lin-Manuel Miranda!)
One of the reasons that Moana has been so successful is because Disney took the extra step to make sure the animation was authentic to the Polynesian culture. The music, in particular, is a great example, which is why it is no surprise that Opetaia Foa’i, founder and lead singer “Te Vaka”, was brought on to create the chants and beats that are so memorable in the movie.
“We Know the Way” is one of my favorite songs in Moana— And it was recently nominated for a Golden Globe for best song by musical creators, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Opetaia Foa’i!
While in L.A. for the Moana press event I was invited to chat with Opetaia Foa’i. Here are 10 fun facts from our interview.
- Opetaia was born in a hut in Samoa— “To find myself here is quite a journey”.
- In his culture, music is like breathing air.
- He was set to retire before Moana came along, but was drawn in because it was true to what he has been doing.
- His daughter, Olivia Foa’i sings the opening melody in Moana— She is the first voice you hear in the movie.
- Both he and Lin work very fast— Before Hamilton they worked a lot together.
- Opetaia said, “My ancestors would be proud of this movie”.
- A box is Opetaia’s favorite instrument.
- Hopes his people feel pride when watching the movie, and ultimately bring them back.
- He feels like working on Moana is a huge win— like he won the lotto and he has done his job.
- 3 parts of Polynesian culture that he wants to pass on: chants, log drums and telling the stories.
Moana is Now Playing in Theaters Nationwide!
Special thanks to Disney Pictures for hosting me during this event.